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Dutch-American Bert Blyleven in Hall of Fame

Top baseball player to be honoured

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

COOPERSTOWN, NY – The Netherlands-born baseball player Rik Aalbert (Bert) Blyleven will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this upcoming summer. Blyleven who hails from the central Dutch city of Zeist, becomes the first Dutch-American player to be so honoured at the Hall of Fame.

Blyleven pitched in 22 seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and California Angels and compiled a 287-250 record with a 3.31 ERA, 242 complete games, 60 shutouts and 3,701 strikeouts in 4,969 1/3 innings. Often considered to have the toughest curveball of his time, Blyleven threw two different types, the “roundhouse” and the “overhand drop”, according to a Hall of Fame statement. “He gripped both like a fastball and used a balanced, full follow-through to get movement”.

In 1996 Blyleven became a commentator for the Minnesota Twins. Blyleven was a pitching coach for the Netherlands in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

According to Professor Carl Pegels, who chronicles biographies of Dutch-Americans of note, Blyleven is a unique player, pointing out that “Bert Blyleven was and still is the only native Dutchman to have made a successful career, as measured by quality of play, in American professional baseball”.

Blyleven and his famous second baseman Roberto Alomar will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 24 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with executive Pat Gillick.