By Joe Christensen
Bert Blyleven didn’t get elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, but he made a big enough jump to suggest he’ll get there eventually.
In his 11th year on the ballot, Blyleven received 61.9 percent of the vote. A player needs 75 percent of the vote to gain entry, and they are eligible on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot for up to 15 years.
Blyleven’s percentage slipped from 53 percent to 47 percent in the previous two elections, but he just got a 15 percent bump. He finished fourth in the balloting behind Goose Gossage (86 percent, the only player elected this year), Jim Rice (72 percent) and Andre Dawson (66 percent).
In his ninth year on the ballot, Jack Morris received 42.9 percent of the vote. That’s up from 37 percent last year, but he probably would have felt better about his eventual chances if he had been closer to 50.
Update: I spoke to Bert, and he was in good spirits. He said his wife, Gayle, predicted he’d receive 62 percent of the vote, and she was right.
“I’m very happy for Goose Gossage,” he said. “That’s something that should have happened years ago. I know Goose vented last year, and Jim Rice will probably vent this year. You find yourself — when you get to close, and you know your numbers are there — you get upset. I was upset before, and now I just look at it and say it’s out of my hands, what can I do?”