Wednesday, August 26, 2009

1981 Donruss, Bert Blyleven

#135 Bert Blyleven

Before I get any further, I would like to announce that I have set a goal for myself. I am going to get 100 different cards from this set signed. If I accomplish that feat with ease, I may try for 200. But I doubt that I will aim any higher than that. There are too many deceased players in the set to bother going for the whole thing like the '83 Fleer Project. For instance, I think that it would be nearly impossible to get a card from this set that has a real autograph from Steve Macko. So, instead, I am just aiming for 100 signed cards. Usually, I try to get anything and everything signed. While I am still going to do that, if the opportunity arises to get an '81 Donruss card signed, I'm going to jump at it.

On to the Blyleven card. I got this card signed last Monday while I was at the Rangers game. The Rangers have a cool setup at the ballpark where the press box is on the same level as the club seats. I found this out when I was there last year and a fellow autograph collector gave me a card of Jose Guzman to get signed. So, I was pretty excited to go to a Rangers game while they were playing the Twins since Bert has been the color commentator for them for a few years now.

When I finally made it up to the club level, the usher stopped me in my tracks. He must have been new because he didn't like the thought of a non-ticket holder entering that section. After a little bit of pleading (and maybe a little begging), he finally let me through and told me to make it quick. When I walked through the area, I couldn't positively identify anyone that I was looking for. So I left the area and made my way down the foul line so that I could get a better look. All of those ushers stopped me too, but I made like I was taking some pictures of the field and they left me alone.

When I finally spotted the booths that had the former players in it that I needed, I went back to the area. I entered from the opposite side this time and simply told the usher that I was going to take some pictures. She let me through without any hassle and I went straight to Bert's booth. I hollared up to him and he quickly poked his head out. I asked him for an autograph and he said sure. I handed him my book and a Sharpie. The Sharpie still had the cap on it. When he realized that, he stuck it back towards me and said "pull my finger". I thought that that was a funny way to tell me to take the cap off for him.

Instead of giving him three cards to sign, I only gave him this one. I didn't want to risk him only signing one and that one not being this one. That is what I mean by focusing on this set.

When I was done getting autographs from the broadcasters, I left the way that I orignally entered. When I walked by the first usher, he told me that I owe him one. Yeah, I'll get right on that.

This is now the second Blyleven card that I have signed. The first one that I got was through the mail in the early '90s.

So, what do you all think? Is Bert Blyleven Hall of Fame material? I think that he is. What is your opinion on the subject?

'81 Donruss Tracker: 23/100


Anonymous said...

I'll defer to the judgment of people who saw Blyleven pitch in his prime, but that's a nice autograph for your collection regardless.

night owl said...

I saw Blyleven pitch in the latter half of his prime. No one was talking about him being a future Hall of Famer then (I mostly remember talk about him giving up a bunch of homers).

But I didn't see the first half of his career. His numbers are pretty good.

packaddict said...

I never knew Bert was a Pirate. He looks cool in the yellow and black striped hat.

Orioles Magic said...

That's an awesome card and autograph. I was a Pirates fan growing up partially because Sid Bream was from my town but also due to those awesome hats they wore.

Tom said...

That's cool! I saw on his web site he charges $10 and gives to a Parkinson's Disease fund. I can respect that.

I'll be attending two Rangers games soon, so thanks for that tip! (too bad the Twins won't be playing, though)

skoormit said...

Blyleven is absolutely a HOFer. He won a lot of games for bad and mediocre teams. Here's his most similar players, according to b-ref:

1. Don Sutton (914) *
2. Gaylord Perry (909) *
3. Fergie Jenkins (890) *
4. Tommy John (889)
5. Robin Roberts (876) *
6. Tom Seaver (864) *
7. Jim Kaat (854)
8. Early Wynn (844) *
9. Phil Niekro (844) *
10. Steve Carlton (840) *

That looks like a HOF list to me.

Dan said...

'81 Donruss is just an awful looking card. Even more the reason to get a whole load of them signed - good luck ! :)

This Blyleven card is rollin' epic with the signature, skin-tight Pirates uni and the awkward pose. Great stuff!

Anonymous said...

I was on the Saratota Twins team with Bert & in the early years he had a GREAT curve ball. I have a Great collection of signed Blyleven stuff & yours is GREAT.

zman40 said...