By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — During two separate stints as a member of the Minnesota Twins, Bert Blyleven gave fans plenty to cheer about. And on a cold, January day he’s giving them one more reason to cheer.

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On Wednesday afternoon, Blyleven was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

“I’m surprised it took so long for him. And I’m happy for him,” said fan Rich Hebert.

“I think it’s wonderful news. It’s just great. He deserves it,” said fan Dan Tyson. “Who can forget the ’87 World Series? … He’s fantastic.”

The general consensus seems to be that Blyleven’s Hall of Fame ticket could have been punched years ago. Last year, he missed Cooperstown by just five votes.

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“I thought it was long overdue. I’ve been voting for the Hall of Fame for about six years and I’ve voted for Bert every year,” said La Velle E. Neal of the Star Tribune.

Neal said Blyleven’s numbers were eventually too good to ignore. He won a World Series title with the Pirates in 1979, but most fans remember his Twins win in ’87.

Neal said the fact that Blyleven never reached 300 wins may have delayed the inevitable. But now the man who has circled Twins Fans in his television broadcasts for years is getting circled himself.

“If you talk to players from his era, they hated facing him. I remember Bob Boone told me, “You get in the batter’s box against Bert and you hear the curve ball, it’s like buzzing when it’s coming up to the plate, it’s got such a tight rotation on it. They just hated facing him,” said Neal. “To me he was one of the best of his era and definitely deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.”

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WCCO-TV’s John Lauritsen and Mark Rosen Report

John Lauritsen