Born Rik Aalbert Blijleven April 6, 1951, in Zeist, Netherlands,
Bert pitched in the Majors from 1970 to 1992, notorious
for his curveball which, according to Brooks Robinson,
"was nasty, I'll tell you that. Enough to make your knees
buckle. Bert was a terrific pitcher – a dominant pitcher."
He was raised in Garden Grove, California and drafted
by the Minnesota Twins right after high school in 1969,
graduating to the Majors the following year, at 19, and
named American League Rookie of the Year by
The Sporting News.
Bert went on to play for the Texas Rangers,
the California Angels, the Pittsburgh Pirates
(winning the 1979 World Series) the Cleveland Indians
(leading the American League in shutouts in 1985,
and pitching 293 2/3 innings & completing 24 games -
which no pitcher has done since), returned to the
Minnesota Twins (exceeding 3,000 strikeouts and winning
the 1987 World Series), and the California Angels (again
leading the league in shutouts).
Since 1996, Bert has been doing color commentary
for the Minnesoata Twins, leading to his mastery of
the "Circle Machine" (the telestrator, which permits
on-screen highlighting by the commentator), which in
turn gave rise to the Circle Me Bert phenomenon.
Bert and his wife Gayle have leveraged the Circle Me Bert
craziness into an opportunity to raise money for a cause
close to their hearts, the fight to end Parkinson's Disease.
for more complete statistics, click here:
Bert talks about the early days and today (from MLB.com)
• 287 wins (27th on the All-Time list)
• 250 losses (10th on the All-Time list) • 3.31 Career Earned Run average • 4,970 innings pitched (14th on the All-Time list) • 3,701 Strikeouts (5th on the All-Time list) • 685 career starts (11th on the All-Time list)
• 242 Complete games
• 60 shutouts (9th on the All-Time list)
• 15 1-0 wins (3rd on the All-Time list) • One of only three pitchers to ever win a Major League game
before his 20th birthday and also win a Major League game after his 40th birthday.
• 7th on the All-Time homeruns allowed list
• Two time All-Star selection (1973, 1985) • Two time World Series champion (1979, 1987) • 1989 AL Comeback Player of the Year • Pitched no-hitter on September 22, 1977 • Won 20 games in 1973
• Minnesota Twins #28 retired • Elected to the 2011 class of the Hall of Fame