PITTSBURGH -- Former Pirates pitcher Bert Blyleven moved closer to enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame but will have to wait at least another year before induction can become a reality.
The support for Blyleven's Cooperstown bid increased significantly this year, but the right-hander still fell short of being named to the Hall's 2010 class, this time by a mere five votes. Blyleven was on 400 ballots (74.2 percent), just shy of the necessary 75-percent threshold.
Outfielder Andre Dawson was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"I'm happy for Andre Dawson," Blyleven said, shortly after Wednesday's announcement. "I've come close, I'm getting closer. Maybe next year will be the year."
Based on how much Blyleven's support increased in the past year, many expect that 2011 will be the year he finally gets in. Blyleven received only 62.7 percent of the vote in 2009. He is eligible to remain on the BBWAA ballot for two more years.
"We're talking about the game of baseball," Blyleven said. "We're not talking about life and death here. It's the highest honor that you can be part of once your career is over, and that's to be on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. So it has to stay a positive. I've vented before but I'm past that stage now. If it happens, it happens.
"I'm very proud that it jumped up 12 percent but saddened that I was five votes short."
Though Blyleven spent half of his 22-year career with the Twins, the right-hander pitched three seasons in Pittsburgh. From 1978-80, he went 34-28 with a 3.47 ERA in 105 games with the Pirates. Blyleven was also an integral member of the organization's 1979 World Series championship club.
Blyleven finished his career with 287 wins and a 3.31 ERA in 692 appearances. He pitched 242 complete games, amassed 3,701 strikeouts and posted 60 career shutouts. He still ranks fifth on the all-time strikeout list.
Former Pirates slugger Dave Parker also lacked ample support to be elected to the Hall of Fame. The seven-time All-Star's name appeared on just 15.2 percent of the ballots, a negligible increase over the 15 percent of votes he received last year. Parker will be on the ballot again in 2011, though that will be his 15th and final year of eligibility.
Parker spent 11 seasons playing for the Pirates, winning the National League's Most Valuable Player Award in 1978. He has three Gold Glove Awards to his name and led the NL in hitting twice.