01/27/2011 10:43 PM ET
Twins Announce Plans To Retire Bert Blyleven's Number 28
Will Become Sixth Twins Player To Have Number Retired; Bert Blyleven Day Set For July 16
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota Twins announced today that they will honor 2011 Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven by retiring his uniform number 28 during a pre-game celebration as part of Bert Blyleven Day, when the Twins host the Kansas City Royals on July 16. Blyleven was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America on January 5. He received 463 votes (79.7%) on 581 ballots and will join Roberto Alomar and Pat Gillick in the Class of 2011. Electees needed 75% of the votes, or 436 votes to be elected. Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will be held Sunday, July 24 in Cooperstown, New York.
Blyleven, 59, joins Harmon Killebrew (No. 3 -- 1975), Rod Carew (No. 29 -- 1987), Tony Oliva (No. 6 -- 1991), Kent Hrbek (No. 14 -- 1995) and Kirby Puckett (No. 34 -- 1997) as the sixth Twins player to have his number retired by the organization. The Twins, in conjunction with all of Major League Baseball, retired Jackie Robinson's No. 42 in 1997.
Blyleven ranks first on the Twins all-time list in complete games (141), shutouts (29) and strikeouts (2035), is second in wins (149) and innings pitched (2566.2), third in starts (345), fifth in ERA (3.28) and 12th in games (348).
"2011 is going to be a special year for the Blyleven family, the Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins Territory," said Twins CEO Jim Pohlad. "As excitement builds for Bert's induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Twins organization is proud to bestow our highest honor with the retirement of his jersey - number 28. Bert Blyleven Day is aimed at celebrating Bert's incredible contributions on and off the field, while also providing he and his family a proper send-off to Cooperstown."
Blyleven broke into the Major Leagues with the Twins at the age of 19. He would go on to pitch for 22 seasons, spending time in Minnesota, Cleveland, California, Pittsburgh and Texas. He had a career record of 287-250, with a 3.31 ERA, including 242 complete games and 60 shutouts (ninth all-time). He was a 20-game winner in 1973, tossing 25 complete games in his 40 starts, including nine shutouts. His 325.0 innings pitched that year are still a single-season Twins record. Blyleven won more than 10 games in 17 of his 22 seasons.
He was named the 1970 American League Rookie Pitcher of the Year and the American League Comeback Player of the Year in 1989. Blyleven was selected to the American League All-Star Team twice (1973 and 1985), and won two World Series Championships (1979 with Pittsburgh and 1987 with the Twins). His 3,701 career strikeouts are the fifth most in baseball history.
In his personal life, he has taken the curve balls that life has thrown at him and turned them into positive community work. His father passed away from Parkinson's Disease in 2004. In the wake of his father's illness, Bert has strived to raise funds and awareness for the disease in both Minnesota and his home state of Florida. He raises funds through the sale of his autograph, through public appearance fees, and by selling the popular "Circle Me Bert" bobble head doll. Bert also serves as a spokesman for the Parkinson's Association of Minnesota and acts as their honorary walk chair. In addition to his work with Parkinson's Disease, he also supports Juvenile Diabetes, Leukemia Association, Children's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House.
He is also the host of the Minnesota Twins Spring Training Golf Tournament, benefitting Lee Cancer Care. The tournament is the largest Twins-associated fundraiser in Southwest Florida. In addition to his community work, Bert spends countless hours signing autographs at TwinsFest and the Autograph Party, helping raise more than $280,000 for the Twins Community Fund. He has also taken part in the Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan, spending four days traveling the Upper Midwest to visit with community groups and Twins fans.
Blyleven, who served as the pitching coach for the Netherlands in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, has been an analyst on Twins television broadcasts since 1995. He will work approximately 150 Twins telecasts on FS North during the 2011 season.