Bert Blyleven: From the Netherlands to the Hall of Fame

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Another immigrant was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week.

No, not Roberto Alomar—Puerto Rico is part of the US. I’m talking about Bert Blyleven.

Actually, Blyleven is a double immigrant. Originally christened Rik Aalbert Blijleven in Zeist in the Netherlands, his parents immigrated to Canada when he was a toddler and then to California while he was a boy.

Only nine Dutch immigrants have ever played Major League Baseball. Blyleven will be the first Dutch-born player inducted in the Hall of Fame.

He’s also the first player to be blogged into the Hall of Fame. The initial time that he was eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot he only received 17 percent of the votes, while 75 percent are needed for induction.

The following year, his vote totals fell. But sports bloggers, using more accurate statistical markers of pitcher prowess than wins and losses, took up his cause. Just shows the power of the blogs.

For Blyleven’s career statistics, click here.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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