Baseball BeatJanuary 13, 2009
Hey Man, Your Comments Don't Hold Water
By Rich Lederer

"I never thought [Bert Blyleven] was a Hall of Famer when he was playing, and I saw him play his entire career."

"[His popularity] is based on a lot of younger people on the Internet who never saw him play."

"It's not about's about impact."

- Jon Heyman on MLB Network, 1/12/09

In case you weren't aware, Jon Heyman is a knowitall. (Bill James combined those three words into one when describing someone else in an email exchange with me a couple of years ago. It hit home with me at the time, but I haven't used the term until today because it just never quite felt as appropriate as it does now.)

Heyman is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and a baseball insider at MLB Network. He is also a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. According to his biography, Heyman "developed a reputation for breaking major baseball stories while at Newsday, broke the story of Barry Bonds going to the Giants in 1992 (with Tom Verducci, who's been at SI since '93), Alex Rodriguez going to the Yankees in 2004, A-Rod opting out of his $252-million contract in 2007 and Manny Ramirez going to the Dodgers in 2008, among numerous other stories." Note that there is no mention of the countless stories he broke that never materialized.

Let's discuss each of Heyman's comments listed above individually.

  • "I never thought [Bert Blyleven] was a Hall of Famer when he was playing."

    Wow, that says it all. I guess there is no need to discuss further. I bet the first time you saw Don Sutton pitch, you said, "Now THAT is a Hall of Famer." Without looking at any stats, you just knew. Maybe it was the way that Sutton walked to the mound. Or the way he wound up and delivered his fastball and curveball. Or maybe it was how he scuffed the ball. If you never thought Blyleven was a Hall of Famer, I'm willing to wager that you never thought of Sutton as a Hall of Famer either. Or at least not until he won his 300th game. But, hey, "it's not about's about impact."

    Conversely, I bet you never considered Steve Garvey to be a Hall of Famer during his playing days. Or Vida Blue, Fred Lynn, George Foster, Dave Parker, Dale Murphy, Keith Hernandez, Ron Guidry, Fernando Valenzuela, Bret Saberhagen, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Don Mattingly, or Jose Canseco. One look at these guys and you just said, "Nope." You knew all along – from the moment they broke into the big leagues through the end of their careers – that the above players weren't Hall of Famers. It's that uncanny eye you have for talent that distinguishes you from the rest of us.

  • "I saw him play his entire career."

    Congratulations, Jon. If you "saw him play his entire career," then so did I. But the truth of the matter is that neither one of us saw him play his entire career. In fact, nobody has seen Blyleven play his entire career. Not his parents. Not his wife. Not his kids. Not any one teammate. Not any announcer, writer, or team executive.

    Like me, you may have been alive back then. Like me, you may have even seen him pitch many times. Like me, you may have watched him perform on TV. Like me, you may have even read about him in the newspapers or magazines when he was playing.

    Unlike me, you covered Blyleven when he pitched for the Angels toward the end of his career. Unlike you, I umpired a game behind the plate that he pitched. In other words, I saw Bert's curveball, the one that Bill James and Rob Neyer ranked as the THIRD-BEST EVER in The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, up close and personal.

    But, when it comes to judging Blyleven's career, none of these facts really matter all that much. You see, I never once saw Babe Ruth play. Or Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, or Walter Johnson. Or Tris Speaker, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, or Joe DiMaggio. But I can still say with 100 percent certainty that all of these players are Hall of Famers. By the same token, I didn't need to see thousands of other players in action to know they weren't Hall of Famers. Being there is great. It's fun. It's memorable. But it doesn't mean you know who is and who isn't a Hall of Famer.

  • "[His popularity] is based on a lot of younger people on the Internet who never saw him play."

    Hmm... I don't know if you were referring to me or not, but it doesn't really matter. Blyleven's Hall of Fame candidacy is not about me (or others like me, irrespective of their ages). But neither is it about you, Jon. Instead, it's about Blyleven himself. You know, the pitcher who ranks in the top ten in strikeouts and shutouts all time and in the top 20 in wins and run prevention since 1900. The pitcher whose career record is indistinguishable from a composite of his eight most similar Hall of Fame peers (comprised of Steve Carlton, Fergie Jenkins, Phil Niekro, Gaylord Perry, Robin Roberts, Tom Seaver, Don Sutton, and Early Wynn).

    Whether Blyleven's most ardent supporters come from the "Internet" or from a bunch of newspaper writers is neither here nor there, other than the fact that you guys have been given the right – and responsibility, dare I add – of voting and those of us on the outside have no direct say in the matter.

  • "It's not about's about impact."

    You gotta love this one. Shame on me. I have always been led to believe that stats lead to impact. I guess not. Rather than spending so much time on making the case for Blyleven via the numbers, maybe I should have emphasized the fact that Blyleven pitched for TWO World Championship teams. I won't mention that he was 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA in five postseason series, including 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA in those two World Series because "it's not about stats." According to you, "it's about impact." And, thanks to you, I have now come to realize that Blyleven had little or no impact on the Pirates winning the World Series in 1979 or the Twins winning it all in 1987.

    After giving this matter considerable thought over the past 24 hours, I have decided that we should just let Jon Heyman decide who should – and who shouldn't – get elected to the Hall of Fame. Because this knowitall knows it all.

  • Comments

    Excellent Article.

    I hate comments like "Younger People on the Internet who never saw him Play" To me that just sounds like an arrogant pompous statement. What difference does someone's age have to do with the validity of their opinion vis a vie, Blyleven/HOF?

    How would Heyman like to be labled a "50 year old Neanderthal who still follows baseball like it's 1972".

    I'm 42 years old and I've learned a lot from the internet about baseball.

    I knew Blyleven was a great pitcher in 1984 when he won 19 games for the horrible Cleveland Indians. Or when he was winning playoff games for the 1979 Pirates and 1987 Twins.

    I knew he was a special pitcher when I was a kid and he kept showing up on my Topps American League Strikout Leaders baseball cards during the 1970's.

    For me the Saber Stuff just backed up what I was feeling back then.

    The whole question is whether baseball wants to "Evolve" and embrace the new technology or be stubborn and try and prove that a square wheel is just as good as a round one.

    Heyman knew from the moment he first saw David Cone, he was a Hall of Famer.

    The "young internet people who never saw him play" argument is quite possibly one of the most effective logical fallacies of all time: attempting to discredit the group who puts forth the argument instead of discrediting the argument. Politicians love this fallacy because it allows them to lump people into categories they don't want to be in. For example, those who are against gun control are hicks or those who are for gun control are elitist and out-of-touch. Of course those who think Blyleven is a hall of famer don't actually watch baseball - they are immature kids who follow it through their fantasy baseball teams.

    It's an rebuttle one uses when one is incapable of addressing the argument presented to them - so they try to say they don't have to address the argument because it was this incompetent group of people that brought up the argument.

    It's really sad, too, because it shows a real prejudice.

    I didn't remember this until I went back and looked it up, but in the '79 World Series, the Pirates were down 3 games to 1 and trailing 1-0 in Game 5. Their chances of winning the series have to be less than 10 percent at that point.

    Chuck Tanner brings in Blyleven, who started Game 2 and pitched 6 innings, on two days rest to start the 6th inning.

    Blyleven finishes the game, going 4 scoreless innings. The Pirates come up with 7 runs to win, then win the next 2 to take the Series.

    That's rather epic, isn't it? Four scoreless innings on two days' rest in a dire situation? I'd say in that one game he probably did more to help his team's postseason chances than, say, Jim Rice did in his whole career.

    Note also that those stories he broke are really not very interesting at all, not from a journalism perspective. Once Bonds decided to go to the Giants, someone was bound to notice and put it in a newspaper sometime prior to Opening Day. Who cares whether it was Heyman or someone else?

    "It's not about's about impact."

    Sounds like A-Rod won't be getting Heyman's vote.

    I'd like to see Heyman's HOF voting record over the years. I'll bet he's made some really boneheaded choices.

    Jon Heyman's schtick seems to be arrogance. I'm 70, I saw Blyleven, and yes, I use the internet. This is irrefutable, or at least Heyman isn't up to refuting it:

    Great article! What is Heyman's criteria for getting in? Blyleven was Sutton to a tee (not taking away from Sutton). A pitcher who you gave the ball to in a big game and would win the game 3-2, with a few K's but not overpowering. He did it for a long time.

    Rich, I think you are giving Heyman's first argument short shrift in the sense that subjective impressions of a player at the time he plays are factors which do matter and, ultimately, drive the kind of objective analysis that you espouse. Obviously, Heyman is not alone in considering Blyleven a good, but not great pitcher based on the see/feel method of analysis. Many feel the same way about Sutton, 300 wins or not.

    I think a categorical dismissal of that argument simply drives a wedge between those that see the forest and those in the trees (in the Jamesian sense). What makes statistical analysis compelling is the ability to make people like Heyman revisit what he saw and remembered with historical record.

    The (sad) fact is, stats or not, Blyleven doesn't pass the HoF "smell test" which is the ultimate arbiter of the museum's gates. That may be illogical, but that's the fact. A good number of baseball people watched Blyleven and didn't "feel" at the time like they were watching a Hall of Famer. And statistical analysis hasn't changed a lot of people's opinions. Why is that? What is it about Blyleven? I think that's a better question to ask and maybe a better way to get people like Heyman to reflect objectively about people's careers, rather than backing them into a corner with cold logic and instigating an irrational, defensive reaction.

    Actually, I don't think the point is that people watching Blyleven pitch did not "feel" as if he were a HOFer. On the contrary, anyone who watched, in the literal sense, games he pitched would be certain he was a HOFer. Seeing, from the stands, that curve ball, the control, the Ks could not fail but impress anyone and convince him that a great pitcher was on the mound.

    On the contrary, it was the stats of the day that convinced them that what their eyes told them was wrong. What they saw on the field was a superb pitcher, but when they looked at the record at the end of the season, just one 20 win season, barely above .500 oftentimes, and when they then had to vote for the Cy Young based on those stats, they altered their thinking. He must not have been a winner; he must not have been able to win the close ones; he could not have been an ace.

    As Rich points out, nobody watched Bert play his entire career. They saw many games, perhaps, but their opinions were formed by reading box scores and end of year records, not by recalling his brilliance on the mound in game after game.

    Minor quibble (to make your argument better): Blyleven had a 5-1 postseason record, not 4-1.

    You got me thinking about Sutton,longevity and the luck to be on mostly good teams seems to have gotten him in because when you look at him he was not "the Guy" in most of his rotations. Blyleven was "the Guy" much of his career and his stats were consistent on good teams or bad teams. I'll bet the batters would rather face Don than Bert. If others belong then he belongs a tier below the Immortals maybe but in there.

    Just to add to the point. I watched Catfish Hunter and Jim Bunning. Seeing them on the field, neither seemed like a HOFer. (Perhaps neither really is.) But 5 straight 20 win seasons and pitching on winning teams certainly created an impression for Catfish, and the perfect game and 100 wins in each league helped Bunning. They "felt" like HOFers because of stats, not how they pitched.

    On the other hand, Vida Blue certainly looked like a HOFer on the mound, and even has some numbers that make a case of sorts. He was far more impressive in person than either Hunter or Bunning. He even has an MVP as well as a Cy Young. So why does he not pass the "feel" test?

    Sorry, but it is a dumb argument that someone felt like a HOFer at the time.

    Good catch, Salvo. I fixed that one.

    Everyone else: great comments...keep 'em coming.

    Well, I followed him from the early years of his career to the end, and while I never saw him in person and just saw him periodically on TV, it was clear from the newspaper accounts and from the talk about him on TV and radio that he was a special player who, in particular, had one of the best curve balls in history. That he used it to particular good effect is another thing in his favor. He has been a Hall of Famer to me and it just astounds me that anybody from that era don't share the same "feeling" about Blyleven as I and others did, that he was a Hall of Famer.

    That statistical analysis showed later that he was deserving is another positive for why he should be in the Hall, he was deserving even before the younger people got on the bandwagon for Blyleven.

    And the "smell" test is biased because a lot of that is based on popularity and personality/charisma. He was or had neither, and suffered from playing for small markets like Minnesota and Pittsburgh, where you have to have those characteristics, like Puckett or Stargell, to get noticed in the mainstream media.

    Something must be changing people's minds, and as Rice noted for himself, he hasn't done anything in years. In his first year of eligibility, Blyleven only got 17.5% of the votes (83 votes). He got 62.7% of the votes this time, that's over 3 times as much votes (almost 4 times) as he originally got, in terms of percentage. And he jumped 14% from 2007 to 2008, so something must be changing people's minds in recent years.

    As Ray Ratto noted in this column,, two others got in based on great PR to drive him into the hall. Extending that thought, that's what Blyleven needs, someone in baseball management at one of his former teams to drive the PR to get him in. The LA Angels would be a good choice, given how the Twins and Pirates probably is more worried about their current teams and not one of the former brethren.

    I guess it would help if Blyleven was more active in MLB still, like Rice and Cepeda are/were.

    Blyleven has been a popular color TV analyst for the Minnesota Twins for more than a decade. Fans have been holding up "Circle Me, Bert" signs for a few years. He also participates in fantasy baseball camps and has been accessible to the media as a player and since his retirement.

    I have always thought that Blyleven was hurt by the fact that he holds the record for HR allowed in a single season. That record got a lot of publicity in 1986 (when he was 35, and actually had a good year overall), For someone like me, who spent the mid 1980s as a young baseball fan, my memory of Blyleven (and clearly the impression pulled away from the media) was of a pitcher with a great curve who gave up lots of homers. At the time, contemporaries Dave Stewart, Jack Morris and Dave Stieb felt like bigger time pitchers.

    With hindsight, it is easy to see that Blyleven peaked earlier and was a better pitcher than the aforementioned trio. Even then, his HRs allowed didn't hamper his effectiveness. Unfortunately, I think that impression, like the mainstream media with Adam Dunn's strikeouts, can't get beyond that one bad stat, which colors people's view that he didn't "feel" like a HOF'er.

    Too many of these voters are caught up with wins and look at his win % and the fact that he didn't make 300 wins and DQ him as a HoF. (Kornheiser just went down that road on PTI) There seems to be this assumption with these guys that if someone is truly a HoFer, then they'd get the wins even when they were on crappy teams. And I agree with Doug B.: having held the HR record probably hurt him, especially early.

    I also think that playing in a small(er) market for so many years has damaged Bert's candidacy. He didn't have a nice stretch of years playing in a big east coast media market and spent his best years playing in places like Minnesota and Anaheim (which back then was a total second place to the Dodgers in the market). It's stupid, but it plays in.

    I feel like the way to push Bert's candidacy should be around the K's, the shutouts, and the quote from George Brett. (Maybe Bert should ask Brett to call around to these old school guys and explain to them in detail just how scary that curve was to hitter back then so they'll start to understand that it really was something special when Bert pitched)

    OK, now that Rice and Rickey are out of the way (and hopefully Dawson in 2010), the focus should finally be on Bert.

    I think it would be helpful to try and tread lightly and not constantly call out these old farts as morons. I mean if they haven't come around by now, these are probably stubborn bastards who don't like being told what to do. Probably the best tack to take with them is to have some of their collegues who have come around to take them to lunch or dinner and persuade them over some brews.

    At this point, I think Bert's only HOF hope is to come back and pitch a game in a Red Sox uniform.

    Bert's stats and command on the mound demand a place in the hall. He certainly had a hall of fame pitch, a Camilo Pasqual curveball that dropped right off the end of the table. Any fan had to love watching him perform.

    I heard him make these stupid comments and couldn't believe that this guy has the privilege of voting. He said it's not all about stats...right after he quoted a bunch of stats on why the supremely overrated Jack Morris should be voted in. Clown.

    For those who didn't see it, Brian Kenny just took Steve Phillips to task on Sportscenter for not thinking Tim Raines was a Hall of Famer. Phillips called him the 2nd best leadoff hitter of all time, but that he "just doesn't feel like a Hall of Famer when you say his name." Kenny then went off about what a great OBP he had.

    Phillips did, though, think Blyleven was a HOF. A little off topic, but it's nice to see that someone on ESPN (Brian Kenny) seems to have a love and knowledge of baseball.

    Bob R. makes a good point. I wonder in the case of Blyleven whether if it's won/loss records overriding what people saw/felt or confirming impressions that he wasn't "dominant."

    Bill James historical abstract has a great piece discussing Darrell Evans on what makes a player underrated. I think Blyleven's carrer is underrated for a lot of the same reasons Evans was: (a) he never played for a big market team in his prime, (b) his career was broken up into multiple parts with different teams, (c) his teams weren't, in general, well covered or good, (d) he wasn't notably glib or colorful, (e) he didn't post huge won-loss records that make people pay attention that otherwise wouldn't, (f) when he did play for good teams, he was generally overshadowed by other teammates.

    And he pitched during a period and in a league when an inordinate number of pitchers won multiple 20-game seasons, including non HoF'ers.

    Blyleven's only seems "special" from a career point of view, and I think most people are surprised that his career numbers are so good because he didn't "seem" like a HoF'er at the time, not compared to big contemporaries like Seaver, Ryan, Palmer, Jenkins, and Carlton.

    A good way to test the "feel/smell" test would be to run the Keltner List on Blyleven ...

    So . . . this must mean that Scott Boras is saw all of Blyleven's career etc etc.

    Wow. Excellent point J McD about how Blyleven fits James's reasons for being underrated (from his Historical Abstract rating of Darrell Evans) I reread that just the other day and didn't think of how perfectly apt all of it is in regard to Blyleven.

    August 5, 1973. Sitting behind the Royals dugout at the old Metropolitan Stadium watching Bert pitch six perfect innings before Fred Patek tripled off the base of the left field wall to open the seventh inning. Watching him carve up the Royals (Otis, Mayberry, Pinella, Brett) I felt I was watching a Hall of Famer at work. I wasn't wrong. But there are quite a few that are.

    Great points by J McD, especially the under-rated points in James' historical abstract pertaining to Evans.

    3 other things that contributed to him being under-rated:

    1-pitching most of his career in hitter's parks.

    2-Having his best five year "peak" during the early part of his career (1971-1975)

    3-Having one of his greatest years during the strike year 1981

    1973 he was the best pitcher in baseball. Put him on the Orioles and let him pitch in Memorial Stadium with Grich, Belanger, B. Robinson, and Blair in the field and he wins the Cy Young and maybe the MVP that year.

    Here's where he ranks in Warp 3 among A.L. pitchers from 1971-1975:

    1971: 4rth best pitcher in A.L.
    1972: 7th best pitcher in A.L.
    1973: Best Pitcher, Best Player in A.L.
    1974: 3rd Best pitcher in A.L.
    1975: 7th Best pitcher in A.L.

    Five other great years:

    1981: 2nd best pitcher in A.L.
    1984: 2nd best pitcher in A.L.
    1986: 6th best pitcher in A.L.
    1977: 7th best pitcher in A.L.
    1989: 7th best pitcher in A.L.

    I've often though trying to explain how great Blyleven was to the uninitiated is like when I tried to explain the Beatles to my Grandmother.

    Not saying that Blyleven is the baseball equivalent to the Beatles but you get the point.

    I was listening to Heyman spew yesterday on MLB Network, and it's just craziness. His comment that Blyleven's support comes from "a lot of younger people on the Internet who never saw him play" is really a proxy for "people who still live in their parents' basement." Really, that's what it comes down to, an ad hominem personal attack, which is why the Jon Heymans of the world are so very frustrating. Because they know they can't win on the basis of numerical arguments, they trot out junk arguments that sound like they ought to end in, "... and you kids get offa my lawn!"

    Side Note:

    Baseball's omission of Blyleven, Raines, and Trammell from the Baseball Hall of Fame is just an embarassment.

    Having Grich and Whitaker not even ON a ballot is an even larger embarassment.

    The career innings pitched leaders in the post-deadball era are, in order, Niekro, Ryan, Perry , Sutton, Spahn, Carlton, Maddux, Blyleven, Clemens and Seaver.

    I was around for Blyleven's entire career, but I had no sense that he threw almost exactly 5,000 innings in his career. Some things you just have to look up.

    Brilliant critique. Thank you.

    how much of his lack of support is due to the fact he did not play in a big media market like boston or new york.

    not a lot of tv exposure outside of the playoffs and series.

    you see rice go in, dawson will follow (chicago) while murphy will eventually not make it.

    then again: it could be the curse of the Rangers still tainting him. sosa beware..

    The great irony of Blyleven's failure to be inducted is that the people who keep him out tend to lionize the marginally inferior Nolan Ryan at the same time. Neither won a Cy Young. Neither had a great W-L (.526 for Nolan, .534 for Bert). Ryan won 20 twice, Bert once. People talk about Ryan's dominance, but he has one more shutout in 400 more innings. Ryan had an unbelievable 2000 more Ks, but an equally unbelievable almost 1400 more walks. Blyleven has the better career era plus (118 to 111) and whip (1.20 to 1.25). Ryan had a mythology about him (even when he played) that Bert never seemed to have and enough wins to hit the magical 300. That seems to be his one advantage.

    I think the Ryan case is exactly what Heyman is referring to when he says some people feel like a HOFer. I would never deny that Ryan was a spectacular pitcher to watch and that following his career one would consider him worthy of the Hall of Fame no matter what the stats say. He really was special, although in reality he was not as great as people thought at the time or as the legend suggests. It's kind of like celebrity. If I say "actress" today, my guess is more people will instantly think Angelina Jolie than Emma Thompson.

    But by the same token, Blyleven was spectacular too when you actually watched him pitch. Perhaps for the reasons given in many other posts, his reputation and the memories of him have not been retained in the same way, but not thinking he was a HOFer while following his career can only mean someone was not at his games and relied instead on stats like wins. It appears to me that Heyman and his ilk must have been living in their mothers' basements poring over the won-lost records of every pitcher and clipping out the headlines for their scrapbooks rather than attending games.

    Why isn't "pitching well" just as, if not more than, an important criteria than wins?

    Have we forgotten Nolan Ryan's ERA title in 1987? That's right, he was 8-16 because the Astros couldn't score any runs. But does that mean that the Express didn't pitch well? Of course not.

    Here's an 8 year stretch (1971-1978) of Blyleven. I'll let you decide if he was "outstanding", or had a "very low ERA".

    I'll give IP, H, K, BB, ERA, LG ERA, ERA+, and WHIP.

    1971 - 278.1, 267, 224, 59, 2.81, 3.54, 1.26, 1.17
    1972 - 287.1, 247, 228, 69, 2.73, 3.22, 1.18, 1.10
    1973 - 325.0, 296, 258, 67, 2.52, 3.98, 1.58, 1.11
    1974 - 281.0, 244, 249, 77, 2.66, 3.77, 1.42, 1.14
    1975 - 275.2, 219, 233, 84, 3.00, 3.86, 1.29, 1.09
    1976 - 297.2, 283, 219, 81, 2.87, 3.59, 1.25, 1.22
    1977 - 234.2, 181, 182, 69, 2.72, 4.11, 1.51, 1.06
    1978 - 243.2, 217, 182, 66, 3.03, 3.72, 1.23, 1.16

    Here's his yearly average for these 8 seasons...

    AVG - 278.0, 244, 222, 72, 2.79, 3.72, 1.33, 1.14

    Now I'll mention his 38 shutouts (almost 5 per year) during this time.

    Low ERA? - I'd say so (33% better than the league is pretty impressive to me)
    Outstanding, and a workhorse? You tell me.

    What more could the guy do? He pitched great, but his record just didn't reflect it. Just one of those things, but that doesn't change the fact that the guy did have an incredible 8 year run!

    I wonder how many pitchers had an 8 year run like this?

    Now for the disappointment. His W/L record for those 8 seasons.


    TOT...126-114 (.525)

    Are you kidding me???

    This is the terrible thing for Blyleven. He was the victim of crappy bullpens and poor run support during this time. You can look it up (I did on

    With any kind of run support and bullpen help, I don't think it's a stretch to say (conservatively) that we could add 2 wins per season while subtracting 2 losses during this period. Which would make his 8 year W/L record 142-98 instead of the 126-114 that it was.

    Which would then make his lifetime record 303-234. And you know that he'd be in the HOF with that record - no questions asked.

    So, why should he penalized for something out of his control? The guy did pitch fantastic, but his (more than usual) subpar run support and his bullpens let him down. That's it.

    And to me, the HOF is reserved for guys who pitched great - regardless of their W/L record.

    Well said, sir. Blyleven not in is a disgrace.

    Rich, a good fisking is always appreciated. The "impact not stats" rhetoric seems to be the Heyman-created cousin of "feared" (Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, etc) as a catch-phrase to be used when the stats don't support the argument at hand.

    Blyleven is a no-doubter for anyone who looks beyond context driven stats like W/L record.

    I actually had an email conversation with Heyman last year on this. Here is his response when I asked him if players shouldn't be evaluated on statistics versus "impact" as he called it:

    "my guess is blyleven had better career stats than catfish hunter. but anyone who saw both careers would know hunter is more deserving of the hall of fame. he was s star. blyleven was an extrenely good pitcher who struck out a lot of hitters, started young and lasted a very long time. he was never a big star in his career - so why should he be in his post career? i do however think he is gaining support based on the power of internet persuasion and an examination of numbers. the morevoters who never saw his career the better his chances. thanks, jh"

    I thought it said it all. He will never change his mind, and its unfortunate. Bertin 2010!

    Another gem comment when I commented that Morris (who he believes belongs in the HOF) played on better teams for more years (hence the better win % over Blyleven):

    "i dont think we should speculate on how a pitcher would have done had he played on better teams. besides, blylelven played most of his career in the free agent era and could have gone to another team if winning was no. 1 on his agenda. there may be a little luck involved." First of all, Catfish Hunter is like everything Bert Blyleven is not. He pitched in a large market, won 20 games frequently (probably also because he had plenty of Hall of Famers hitting behind him), and broke down early. He may have been a star (possibly because of the power of Charles O. Finey), but Blyleven was the better player. He had a higher peak and lasted longer. Of course, I'm just preaching to the choir.

    And his second statement is stupid on so many levels. He may have played in the post-Messersmith era, but that just happened to be the era of collusion.

    Anyways...over at the Joe Posnanski blog, we're talking about bumper stickers supporting Bert's candidacy. Are there any Photoshop whiz who'd be willing to come up with a snazzy design?

    "he was never a big star"

    Translation: he didn't play in NY, Boston, etc.

    Heyman apparently believes that the Hall of Fame is more about Fame (in all its fickle glory) than Excellence. I wonder, what group of people connected to the sport wields great influence when it comes to who is and is not a "star?" I wonder who that could be? Maybe it's the same group that drives narratives like "ARod is a big fat choker who only hits solo HRs late in blowouts."

    I have tried persuading a friend of mine that Blyleven belongs in the Hall of Fame. I have used Rich's arguments and evidence.

    I have failed dismally.

    Heyman's statements make my glad that my cable carrier doesn't get the MLB Network. Where will I turn to now for unfounded trade rumors now?

    I think a few too many people are forgetting that it's the Hall of FAME, not the Hall of STATS.

    Which is not to say that the numbers don't matter, but they aren't the only consideration.

    Yes, a player is elected to the Hall of Fame and he becomes famous. If it were the other way around, Don Larsen would be in the Hall of Fame. Roger Maris would be in the Hall of Fame. Heck, even Bo Jackson would be in the Hall of Fame. But the history and makeup of the Hall of Fame tells us it's not about inducting players for achieving fame; rather, it's about inducting the best players.

    Rich, great analysis as usual

    I am very interested to hear about his curveball...I lost mine in a trade

    If it's just the Hall of FAME, then I demand that Ross Youngs and Eppa Rixey be kicked out.


    Dear Mr. Heyman,

    You've been FJM'ed.

    - Mr. Lederer

    I was born when Willie and Mickey were rookies in New York. I've seen lots of ballgames and read lots of baseball writers over the years, and I knew Jon Heyman was a knowitall from his first SI article. It wasn't about word count or depth, it was about impact. The boy just had it. I wonder now, though...where did it go to?

    I don't know if it's possible to change Heyman's mind, but I'd like to try. How might a "younger person on the Internet" go about contacting him?

    I was 6 years old the first time I attended a game where Bert pitched, and I saw him pitch a number of times between 1970 and 1976. I may not have thought of Bert as a HOF'er when I was 6 - but by the time I was 12 he was one of my hero's. The Hall of Fame meant nothing to me back then, but I knew when we packed the family car to make the 4 hour trip to the old Met Stadium in Bloomington that I was hoping to see Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew play. In my mind these were guys who I wanted be like. I was never a great athlete in my young life (or since for that matter), but I played baseball to the best of my ability and every time I stepped onto the field I became one of them. At the plate I was Harmon, on the mound I was Bert and in the field I was Rod. It was because of these individuals that I wanted to play baseball and did play and still do play despite the fact that I'm not all that good at it. Saying that Bert doesn't belong in the HOF is like a slap in the face to me and every other "kid" just like me from the midwest who grew up watching him play.

    I watched the World Series in 1979 at age 15 as was once again reminded of how much I idolized Bert. When he returned to the Twins in 1986 and helped them win the World Series in 1987 I was in my early 20's and I began thinking of him as one of the greatest pitchers of all time. At this point I'll always consider Bert to be one of the greatest of all time whether he eventually makes the HOF or not, but it would be nice if it were possible to convince John Heyman and any of the other writer's who didn't vote for Bert to open their minds a little and try to see Bert the way I and thousands of others see him.

    He was a great pitcher and he deserves to be enshrined, but beyond that he inspired me and an entire generation of us in the Midwest.

    I'm old enough to have had Bert sign his autograph for me on a Twins yearbook during his second season in the bigs. He was always the staff ace even though these Twins teams were not good. He was sold in 76 and I hated Griffith for the deal, even though one of the returning guys (Roy Smalley) eventually became my fave Twins player.

    "'s the Hall of FAME, not the Hall of STATS"
    Heh, that kind of attitude is why Blyleven is not in the Hall, and why he would already be in the hall if he had played a significant portion of his career in a big media market. In those days there was SI, Sport, and TSN, and small market players only got headlines if they were close to hitting .400 (like Carew in '77). I bet most baseball fans from that era know more about Fred Stanley than they do about Blyleven. Seriously, if you were a Twins fan you got a national mention so rarely the team may as well have been a AAA squad.

    Anyway, I'm a big fan of Blyleven and hope he gets in the hall in a year or two, but I can see how he gets over looked. He generally played on teams that got zero media coverage in the era before the internet made the world smaller, and most of these teams were pretty dismal. Thanks to the internet the fame bias for the largest media markets is much less significant today.

    Jon Heyman is a pretty typical New York elitist. If a player didn't play in a major market, like New York or Boston or Chicago, you don't matter. Heyman is a good example of the type of writer who doesn't know Blyleven nearly as well as he thinks, as Blyleven spent most of his years playing in flyover states, in small media markets, mostly for teams that were neither great nor terrible, and was thus unnotable for a guy like Heyman.

    On the same HOF special, the subject of Edgar Martinez came up and how he compares to Harold Baines. Heyman actually made the point that a strike against Edgar was that he didn't have Baines' longevity. Longevity as a strike AGAINST Edgar Martinez??? He played until he was 41! Eighteen years in the majors and he didn't have longevity? Heyman is lost when it comes to players outside of the major markets.

    Although I think he is dead wrong on this issue, I generally think Heyman is a good reporter. What interests me is whether Heyman (and other reporters who did not vote for Blyleven) (1) saw/covered Bert and never "felt" he was anything "great", or (2) came to the conclusion that he was not "great" because his annual won-loss records were just OK-to-mediocre. If it's (1), I don't think there is anything that can be done to convince him he's wrong. In fact, he wouldn't be wrong, per se, just voting his instinct and preference -- incomplete analysis to be sure, but intellectually honest nonetheless. I can respect that. But if it's (2), then he's using stats (whether he wants to admit it or not) to evaluate Bert, but focusing on a series of 14-12 seasons and putting blinding homself to other, better evidence.

    Contributing to the perception that Blyleven was a very-good-but-not-great pitcher is that 9 contemporay starters have already been elected. I haven't studied it, but that seems like a lot for a 15-20 year period. In each case, his contemporaries either (a) won over 300 games (Seaver, Carlton, Sutton, Ryan, Perry, Niekro) and/or (b) had a career winning percentage over .550 and at least 5 20-win seasons (Seaver, Carlton, Palmer, Hunter, Jenkins). Blyleven is on the outside looking in on both accounts. And that's where the line is for the HoF for 1970s pitchers.

    So a reporter like Heyman in actuality probably has a hybrid stats/feel analysis: If you win 300, you're in--no questions asked even if I never felt you were an impact player. And maybe I'll hold my nose as Sutton and Niekro and Gaylord walk through the door.

    If, on the other hand, I felt you were "dominant," but didn't win 300, you can still get in, and I'll look up the stats I like to prove it. Ol' Catfish, for instance: Look! 5 20-win seasons in a row! .575 career WP! See, I knew he was great!

    Serious question: Is there a player in the Hall of Fame with 2 or fewer All Star selections (since the game started, obviously)? That's how many All Star selections Blyleven had in 22 seasons. To me, if you weren't an all star at least 1 out of every ten seasons you played, you shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. He also never finished higher than 3rd in the Cy Young voting. If you're not considered a star when you play, you're not a Hall of Famer.

    I've responded to claims that Blyleven's lack of Cy Young and All-Star game credentials disqualify him from the HOF in Answering the Naysayers and Answering the Naysayers (Part Two)...

    Blyleven was the best pitcher in the American League on more than one occasion and could have won a few Cy Young Awards and should have been a member of several All-Star teams over the course of his career.

    Answer: I don't know but I suspect there are. But why does it matter?

    The way All Stars and Cy Youngs are selected doesn't give me any piece of mind that only the best of best get the most votes year after year. In fact I think if that's the best argument to be made for not putting him in the HOF that bites. Sorry Mr. Blyleven, statistically you're one of the top 20 pitchers of all time, but you sucked when it came to All Star and Cy Young votes - no soup for you.

    Come on.

    Let's look at your claims that Blyleven is indistinguishable fromt the players you mentioned:

    Steve Carlton -- 300 wins, much better win percentage, six 20 win seasons, 4 Cy Young awards, 10 all star selections

    Fergie Jenkins -- Seven 20 win seasons, 3 all star selections, 3 fewer wins in 5 fewer seasons, Cy Young award, better win percentage

    Phil Niekro -- 300 wins, 3 20 win seasons, 5 all star selections

    Gaylord Perry -- Five 20 win seasons, 3.11 ERA, 300 wins, 5 all star selections, 2 Cy Young awards

    Robin Roberts -- 6 20 win seasons, 7 all star selections, started 5 all star games, led league in wins 4 straight years, 1 fewer win in 4 fewer seasons.

    Tom Seaver -- If I need to address this, you're not qualified to discuss baseball.

    Don Sutton -- 300 wins. Much better winning percentage. 4 all star selections

    Early Winn -- 300 wins, 8 All Star selections, Cy Young award, five 20 win seasons

    Everyone on this list but Niekro and Sutton blow Blyleven out of the water. If you want to argue that Don Sutton and Phil Niekro shouldn't be in the Hall, I'll listen. The fact remains that 300 is considered a magic number, and Blyleven didn't get there. If Sutton or Neikro didn't get there, they wouldn't be in either. It might not be fair, but such is life. And the argument that Sutton and Niekro shouldn't be in is much stronger than the argument that Blyleven should be in.

    I think Heyman is a lost cause but I will grant him this, last winter I sent him an email in response to a column he wrote on SI pointing out that Blyleven was actually better in the post season than Morris and (wrong as he was) he at least responded (twice even). Well Mama always said if you can't say anything nice about a person than don't say anything at all, so I think I'll shut up now.

    BTW what's up with Buster Olney?

    Why should you be in the Hall of Fame if you weren't considered a star when you played? It's not the Hall of Really Good for a Long Time.

    What years was Blyleven the best pitcher in the American league? He never led the league in wins, he never led the league in ERA. He led the league in WHIP once, in 1977 when his record was 14-12.

    He was the best pitcher in the American League in 1973. He was the 2nd best in 1981 and in 1984. He was 3rd best in 1974.

    I think he belongs in the HOF and you don't. Since I don't get to vote, and you don't get to vote, we'll just have to leave it to the experts who get it right every year (including All Star and Cy Young), right?

    Lack of Cy Youngs do not disqualify you from the Hall, but they are a factor. If you have similar stats to someone else, but he has a Cy Young award and you don't, he has a better case for the Hall than you do. Same for All Star appearances, although I would say 2 all star selections in 22 years is pretty close to disqualifying.

    Blyleven had a good year in 1973 and should have been higher in the voting. However, he did have 17 losses that year. That's a lot of loses for a Cy Young candidate. Palmer certainly had a better season then Blyleven, and Ryan probably did too.

    Tom: I didn't say "Blyleven is indistinguishable from [those] players." Instead, I said Blyleven's "career record is indistinguishable from a composite of his eight most similar Hall of Fame peers (comprised of Steve Carlton, Fergie Jenkins, Phil Niekro, Gaylord Perry, Robin Roberts, Tom Seaver, Don Sutton, and Early Wynn)."

    Note the word "composite" in that sentence. I also linked to an article I wrote that backs up my claim. If you disagree with me after checking out the stat lines, then I don't know what else I can say to convince you of that statement.

    "If you have similar stats to someone else, but he has a Cy Young award and you don't, he has a better case for the Hall than you do"

    This has to be the most illogical thing I've read all day.

    Tom: If you're hung up on losses, I don't think there is much room or reason for further discussion. We can go 'round and 'round on that one and neither one of us is going to convince the other about their position on Blyleven (and probably many other pitchers).

    "It is not about's about impact." This is the most telling of the quotes, and I think reveals trends in our culture that run deeper than baseball and the Hall of Fame. There are good statistical arguments to leave Blyleven out but the Heyman defesne is a bit silly. I can imagine Donald Rumsfeld, upon hearing General Eric Shinsheki report troop projections for occupying post-war Iraq, responding with similar language. Don't give me numbers give me impact. I don't pretend to be the first to suggest this, but we are mired in a knowledge crisis. We don't agree on standards that determine how we know things. As Stephen Colbert likes to say, "truthiness" is determined by the gut, not through rational examination. I suppose we should applaud a writer like Heyman who at the very least is honest about the irrational process that shapes his judgements.

    Where does the "he wasn't dominant" idea come from? The man threw 60 shutouts among his 287 career wins. In almost 21% of his victories -- almost 9% of his career 685 starts -- he held the other team scoreless. Tom: Stack up those percentages against the contemporaries you think are superior.

    As one of those "old" guys who have been watching baseball since the fifties and now reads those internets I think Heyman is way off base. I have never been much of a fan of his work and frankly he ain't no bb sage. Bert Blyleven belongs in the Hall. Someday the BBWAA will be opened up and have a more rounded membership. Just because some guy works for a newspaper doesn't insure he knows what he is talking about.

    Rich, Great rant. Heyman's most recent exclusive was his series of SI posts during the first weeks of the Hot Stove revealing that CC Sabathia would either sign with the Yankees or he wouldn't. As for Blyleven, I saw him pitch on TV a few times as a kid (I'm within a bloop single of 40 yrs old) and never appreciated how good he was over his career until the "stat-heads" enlightened me. My perception was colored by the writers' lack of respect for BB in Cy Young voting. But there is no reason to compound ignorance with stupidity.

    Tom, you are focusing exclusively on wins and awards over which Blyleven had very little if any control. If you cannot yet understand that, there is little hope that anyone here can engage you in a rational discussion.

    If you want to make comparisons, you might note that Blyleven has a better ERA+ than every pitcher on that list except Seaver. I do not claim that ERA+ is a decisive factor in judging pitchers, but it is a start and is certainly better than wins or w/l% or awards. At least it is a rough measure of how much better he was than his contemporaries rather than a measure of other people's ignorance or his own team's failings.

    I think Blyleven's biggest problem was he was pretty well-known as a big jerk, especially early in his career when he was at his best. So, the media didn't like him and didn't want to vote for him for Cy Youngs, etc. anymore than those who covered him back then want to vote for him now. As for All-Star Games, Blyleven was a much better second-half pitcher (which should be a plus for him, not a negative) and so his stats weren't as strong at midseason as they were at the end of the season, plus All-Star selections and Cy Youngs hinged heavily on win-loss records in the 70s and 80s and Blyleven just didn't have the luck for that.

    What I don't get is how his total wins is seen as a negative. There are a ton of Hall of Famers with less total wins and there are many saying today that we might not see another 300-game winner after Randy Johnson gets to the "magic" number.

    Why is it that starting pitchers are held to such a high level nowadays? Have we been spoiled by Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, etc. Just because a pitcher doesn't reach that level doesn't mean they don't belong in the Hall of Fame.

    I think the Ryan comparison is great, but I would question the idea that Ryan at the time was considered to be an all time great. Ryan's fastball was certainly considered to be an all time great pitch, but he never won a Cy Young award (although he did finish 2nd, 3rd twice and 5th twice). At the time, nobody thought he was the best pitcher for a year, let alone for a career. In comparison, Seaver and Palmer each won 3 Cys, and in the 70's, during Ryan's peak, would both have beeen considered by most writers and fans to be vastly better pitchers. But Ryan made the all century team, and Seaver did not. His star has only risen through his late career and post career, to a larger-than-life character. The reality is though, that while he was a remarkable pitcher, for much of his career, control problems kept him from being a truly great pitcher.

    Blyleven threw curveballs. Real pitchers don't throw sissy curveballs. They throw GAS, like Nolan Ryan did!


    Last year during the same time of year, I had an email exchange with Mr. Heyman, who was suprisingly foward with me and responded to my replies promptly and honestly.

    It started when, in an article, he wrote that Blyleven never had a "truly dominating season." I pointed out his '73 season, when he was in the top 3 in ERA+, K/9, BB/9, Shutouts, and WHIP. Heyman's response?

    "nobody seems to believe me but i really don't go by numbers. i go by impact ... in any case (and again i don't go by numbers) you think someone who went 20-17 dominated? i guess we define dominate differently then. thanks, jh"

    apparently 20 and 17 are both not numbers. i guess i learned math wrong.

    I think it's harder to judge pitchers based on All-Star appearances, since managers tend to pick pitchers with hot starts. And to be frank, Bert was what you may call a slow starter. His career pre-ASG numbers were 150-140 (.517 winning pct.), 1.222 WHIP, and a 3.47 ERA. I'll concede that those aren't exactly ASG-worthy numbers.

    On the other hand, his career post-ASG numbers were 137-110 (.555 winning pct.), 1.168 WHIP, and a 3.12 ERA. That's as good or better than some of his slam-dunk Hall of Fame contemporaries like Steve Carlton (.558 win pct., 1.225 WHIP, 3.12 ERA), Ferguson Jenkins (.571 win pct., 1.172 WHIP, 3.30 ERA), and even Jim Hunter (.556 win pct., 1.142 WHIP, 3.12 ERA). Now, if you buy into the idea that games in the later half are more meaningful, then shouldn't the fact that Blyleven performs better in this half be seen as a positive?

    Oh, and also...Bert was 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA, in the first half of 1989. He was not named to the All-Star roster. If Tony LaRussa didn't snub him so badly, he'd have as many All-Star appearances as Ferguson Jenkins!

    Blyleven might be the unluckiest pitcher in baseball history. He was always on the wrong team in the wrong city in the wrong ball park at the wrong times. Even when he was on World Series teams he had the misfortune to be on them during off years.

    Put him on a neutral team in a neutral ballpark and he wins 325 and a Cy Young.

    Put him on the Dodgers or Orioles during the 70's and 80's and he wins about 350 games and he wins 2 or 3 cy youngs and maybe an MVP award in 1973.

    Also sports reporters list him unfairly in the Jim Kaat and Tommy John category where he really belongs in the Jim Palmer, Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry Category.

    I missed Blyleven's 1985 and 1976 season on the Warp 3 chart because he was traded during those seasons.

    Warp 3 see's Blyleven as the 4rth best pitcher in the A.L. during 1976 season and the The BEST PITCHER in A.L. during 1985 season. Again wins and losses are misleading and pitching for the Twins, Rangers, Indians and Twins didn't show how great he was.

    To the best of my knowledge, Blyleven may be the only pitcher who was considered the BEST in his league by WARP 3, that was TRADED during that season.

    I largely agree with Gary Enriquez on this article. I'm not sure why the sabermetric community reacts so vehemently against the very people we should be trying to convince over to objective analysis.

    Why is the sabermetric community so adverse to the principal of charity in argument?

    I wonder the people who use the wins and awards argument feel when their logic is completely invalidated. They probably feel terrible. This makes them feel like they have to refuse to budge because their feelings are proved wrong. After all, feelings are real and stats are made up. Stats don't feel like anything. I hate feelings.

    I think the Blyleven debate is interesting for this reason: the
    candidate (a) was not regarded as a Hall-of Fame talent during his
    career, but (b) his career looks better retrospectively especially
    compared to his HoF peers.

    I think it's an uncontroversial point that Bert was never regarded as
    a Hall-of-Fame pitcher when he pitched. I saw him pitch in the 80's
    and I don't remember thinking or hearing that he was going into the
    HoF. And that's evident by his 2 AS appearances and poor CY vote
    totals. He was also traded pretty much even-up for Roy Smalley--not exactly the return you would expect for a guy considered to be a HoF'er.

    Yet, I also think its also uncontroversial that (a) his career win,
    strikeout, and shutout totals compare favorably to others in the HoF
    and (b) his individual season-by-season performance looks far, far
    more impressive than his won-loss record after isolating his
    individual performance from his team's performance.

    I think its a fair debate whether someone that wasn't considered great
    when he played should be voted into the Hall. Ultimately I think
    Blyleven is closer to Ryan, Sutton, and Niekro than Jim Perry, Jim
    Kaat, and Tommy John. But it is a legitimate factor against
    Blyleven's case that he was not regarded as a "HoF pitcher" when he pitched.

    J McD: I beg to differ with one important point you made; that is, to the extent that "Bert was never regarded as a Hall-of-Fame pitcher when he pitched" is NOT "evident by his 2 AS appearances and poor Cy vote totals." Instead, it is the other way around. His lack of AS appearances and Cy vote totals directly contributed to the idea that he wasn't a Hall of Famer during his playing days.

    In today's post, Sully addresses this issue. I highly recommend that you and others read it.

    Jon Heyman is a f*cking idiot.

    I know, I've read him his entire career.

    I once went through two years of Blyleven box scores (it was 1972-73 or '73 and '74) and found a far higher number of lost wins than normal due to bullpen incompetence.

    Combine that with below average run support, some bad defense(check who played behind Bert), and it's no surprise he didn't make it to 300 wins.

    J McD, Robin Yount was selected to only two All-Star Games.
    Steve Garvey was selected to 10.
    Bret Saberhagen won two Cy Youngs as did Denny McLain.
    I hope you don't think of Garvey, Saberhagen, and McLain as worthy of the Hall.

    Your argument suggests that we compound mistakes from the past with stubborn blindness in the present.


    The other day I came across this guys blog that an interesting analysis of Bert's career looking at games where he pitched well enough that he should have gotten a victory but didn't. He identified one tough loss or tough no decision per season. I'm sure there were some seasons where several could have been found.

    The guy did some interesting research. Looking at the games he details I was struck by how many times Bert pitched more than nine innings. I knew he pitched a lot of complete game (242), but didn't realize how many extra innings games he stayed in to finish. Is there a way of finding out who pitched more than 9 the most times in the modern era (post WW II)?

    Thanks, and keep fighting the good fight.


    So those same writers who overlooked Blyleven's great seasons in 1973, 1977, 1984 and 1985 when voting for the Cy Young award are citing these oversights when passing him over for the HoF? Two wrongs made another wrong.

    Blyleven certainly warranted being named to the All-Star team in 1984 and 1989 at the very least, and could have been named every single year from 1971-76 but apparently naming Carew was enough Twins representation.

    Really ironic that past mistakes are being used to justify current mistakes.

    I have posted elsewhere that, while it appeared to me that Blyleven acted boorishly a lot and came across as a jackass on many occasions, he was one of the MOST DOMINANT pitchers in that era. When he was "on", he was like Nolan Ryan and Vida Blue: unhittable! even the Northern California sportswriters were awed by what thwy called the "Overlord": his curve. For a so-called senior sportswriter to see Blyleven pitch and not realize this akin to complete and total ignorance of baseball.

    "Is there a way of finding out who pitched more than 9 the most times in the modern era (post WW II)?"

    Sure. With Baseball-Reference's play index, anything is possible, except their database only goes back to 1956.

    Bob Gibson pitched the most post-1956 extra-inning perfect games, with 19. He is followed by Gaylord Perry (17) and Juan Marichal (13). Bert Blyleven had 9, which is tied with Nolan Ryan, Jim Hunter, and Ferguson Jenkins (Hall of Famers all.) He is ahead of, among others, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Robin Roberts, and of course...Jack Morris.

    Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux both had one, and theirs came only nine days apart.

    Let's be real here:

    Bert Blyleven should be penalized for being on bad teams with little national exposure. It's his fault. He was a jerk.

    And it's not called "The Hall of Jerks."