Many local sports fans know Bert Blyleven from his current job - the color man for Minnesota Twins television broadcasts - the man who popularized the the phrase that every Twins fan knows - "Circle me, Bert!"
But before Blyleven joined the Twins broadcast teams, he had a career as a major league pitcher - some say a hall of fame career.
But when voting was announced for those eligible for the 2009 MLB Hall of Fame, Blyleven didn't get enough votes to qualify.
A rather surly Blyleven appeared on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning, hacked off that he once again didn't get voted into the hall on his 12th year on the ballot.
So why are the voters so hesitant to circle Bert's name on their ballots?
Most make the argument that Blyleven was never really a dominant pitcher. He never won the Cy Young award and was only named to two All-Star games.
Detractors say that his 287-250 record proves that he was not much better than average. He won only 20 games once.
But to me, the positives outweigh the negatives when it comes to Blyleven's candidacy.
The simple fact is that Blyleven played for a lot of mediocre teams in his 22-year career. And there are more than a few pitchers in the hall that got in despite pitching or playing for a lot of average teams.
Hall of famers Phil Niekro (who was 318-274 for a .537 winning percentage) and Nolan Ryan (324-292 and .526) had similar winning percentages to Blyleven (.534) while Blyleven missed the magic number of 300 wins by just 13. Sixty of Blyleven's wins were shutouts, good for fifth all-time and he finished with a mind-boggling 242 complete games in 685 starts. Better than every third time a team gave him the ball, he finished the game.
Blyleven is fifth all-time in strikeouts, with 3,701 behind only Ryan, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton. He is considered to have one of the best curveballs of all time.
Earned run average is considered the truest way to judge a pitcher.
His 3.31 lifetime ERA is comparable to a number of current hall members.
First ballot hall of famers Carlton (3.22) and Bob Feller (3.25) had similar ERAs. Fergie Jenkins (3.34), Niekro (3.35) and Robin Roberts (3.41) all sported higher career ERAs than Blyleven.
You say you like a winner? Blyleven was a key part of World Series winning teams with both the Pirates and Twins
When the going got tough, Blyleven got tougher. He won 15 games that finished in a 1-0 score and lost another nine by that same count.
Bert's done his fair share of circling, now it's time the Baseball Writers of America circle him on their hall of fame ballots.
(Chris Bieri is a sportswriter for The Minot Daily News. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com)