In a world of carefully couched language, Bert Blyleven has always been a breath of fresh air. Until this week, the former Twins pitcher and current television announcer had been openly annoyed at his failure to qualify for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. At one point he asked baseball writers to take his name off the ballot.
When the baseball writers voted him in he thanked them and told them they finally got it right. He felt strongly his quality numbers, over a a period of many years, justified inclusion with other baseball greats in the Hall of Fame and he wasn't shy about saying so.
Similarly, the 12-time All Star was unabashedly open about how much the honor meant to him and how much he owed to his father, who supported him and even built a mound for him as a young pitcher.
Breaking into the major leagues at the tender age of 19, the curveballer won 287 games, threw 60 shutouts and ranks fifth with 3,701 strikeouts.
While many of today's Twins fans are too young to remember his exploits on the mound, he has made the expression "Circle me Bert" a household phrase by obliging fans who want to appear on television by circling them on a teleprompter.
Baseball, often referred to as America's national pastime, has been the predominant component in Blyleven's life, even though he was born in the Netherlands. He will proudly join three other longtime Minnesota Twins - Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett - in Cooperstown. We can't think of a better representative for Minnesota's baseball team.