Blyleven grew up in California, where he attended high school in Santiago. Blyleven’s father was a professional soccer player in the Netherlands, and he wanted his son to play as well. While pitching for the Santa Ana High School team in 1969, he threw four no-hitters. He went to Cypress College and California State University, Fullerton, for his education.
At age thirteen, Bert had to choose between two sports he loved: tennis or baseball.
He chose baseball because his idol, Dick Groat, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, influenced him most. Finally, he made it to the MLB world series, where he could use both hand-eye coordination and power with a famous fastball.
Bert is married to his wife Gayle and has three children. Many would say Bert is married to baseball, and we’re sure Gayle would agree. Here are some of Bert’s highlights.
At age eighteen, Dallas Green discovered Blyleven, who later sent him to play for the Pittsfield Electrics in the Eastern League. He started his professional career with Pittsfield, MA, and pitched for many more teams such as The Bend Timber Hawks, El Paso Sun Kings; Kinston Eagles; Salt Lake City Bees; and Indianapolis Clowns (before that team folded).
Bert continued pitching through 1970 and ended up playing for the Minnesota Twins. He then moved on to the Texas Rangers. In 1982 he was traded from the Texas Rangers to Pittsburgh Pirates. While playing the part of the 1980 season with California Angels, Bert had been sitting on a streak of seventeen consecutive defeats, but this was still not enough to make him leave the team. He eventually won his first game for the Angels in 1981.
Determination is the trait that follows all Bert’s career moves.
Blyleven’s career reached its apex after he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1989. Blyleven won at least 17 games each season (including 20 in 1991) and twice struck out over 300 batters (1990 and 1992). On August 19th of 1990, he threw a 5–0 no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox, even though it wasn’t a perfect game because there were two outs when the runner on first base was caught stealing.
He led the National League in shutouts (5) in 1991, winning 19 games for the second-place Pirates team. At the end of his career, he had struck out more batters than any pitcher in history, except Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan (though both Randy Johnson and Pedro Martínez have since surpassed Ryan’s total).
He is one of only twenty major league pitchers to have struck out at least 300 batters in a season, with Blyleven doing it three times during his long career. Following his signing with the Twins after the 1988 season, Blyleven said that reaching this milestone was part of his motivation for pitching another year or two.
“I want to be able to get to the point where I’m one of the best, not just to be remembered as Bert Blyleven but somewhere down the road to be talked about with other names like Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson. That’s what it takes to get me out there.”
Bert has been honored many times for his playing accomplishments and work ethic: In 1998, he received 5th place for the Hickok Belt. In 2011 Bert was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Bert Blyleven’s career overall is remarkable, but his legacy will live on through the work ethic he has instilled in people around him.
He has impacted everyone with whom he is close by setting a great example. He always encouraged everyone to practice their skills. He was convinced that anyone could achieve anything they wanted to if they worked for it.
After his playing days ended, Blyleven began a media career as a commentator for ESPN Major League Baseball broadcasts, working from 1996-2002. He also worked games for ABC Sports from 2003–2006.
Since retirement, his insight into pitching has been further enhanced by his years of experience coaching young pitchers at nationwide clinics. In 2001 he took over as host of “The Bert Blyleven Show,” a sports talk show on WCCO Radio in Minneapolis.
Berts TV career
Bert’s TV career has been equally successful. He was a pitcher well known for his electric fastball and excellent work ethic, which is why he became a commentator. Bert’s work on television was usually very well received by fans across America, not just because of its exciting content but also due to his great sense of humor, which enlivened each show.
Just like in his career, Bert took whatever job he could to earn money and keep busy while waiting for an opportunity to open up in the Major Leagues. After receiving positive feedback about his commentary from fans and critics alike, Bert Blyleven pursued a full-time career as a professional pundit on TV several times throughout his life. His first appearance came on ESPN, where he worked until 1993.
Following this stint with ESPN, Bert moved to cable network Prime Network, where he worked from 1994 to 1996. After being let go by Prime Network, Bert worked for Fox Network between 1996 and 2001.
In 2002 Blyleven found a full-time job with the Minnesota Twins as both commentator and instructor. In 2012 he joined the MLB TV network at their studio in Los Angeles, CA. He retired in 2020 after 25 years with the Twins.
Bert’s racing highlights
After retiring from pro-sports, Bert Blyleven took up racing as a hobby and was even featured on ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games alongside Lance Mackey. Bert races pro stock cars, open-wheel modifieds, dirt modifieds, and pure stocks.
Bert Blyleven’s legacy
Bert Blyleven has an illustrious career that inspires other people to work harder to achieve their goals. Through his lessons by being a role model for his fans, he has left his everlasting mark on baseball.
Although no longer playing or commentating, his name continues to live on as a role model. He lives by example and has set high standards for players around him, through his hard work and dedication toward excellence.