Continued from page 1

As amazing as Young and Johnson were, Blyleven also had a tendency to awe fans. He allowed a major league record 50 home runs in 1986 and 46 the next season _ and he had an explanation for that, too.

“I looked at those two years, the cows were in better shape than they were ever before,” he said. “The hide was thicker. I think the farmers were actually walking the cattle. That’s why I gave up so many home runs. The hide was thicker.”

Up in the library, Blyleven was shown pictures from his career and then waxed nostalgic as he peered at a scorecard from 1869.

“That’s 5:45 p.m. It’s almost dark,” he said, noting the time the game ended. “I should have pitched then. I always pitched better at night with the lights out.”

The tour ended with Blyleven walking through the gallery, stopping to gaze at the plaques of Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Willie Stargell, Rod Carew, and tapping the top of former teammate Kirby Puckett’s. Then he sat down not far from where his plaque will hang, a satisfied smile on his face.

“There’s not a door near my plaque. My face is usually near a door so everybody exits, and it’s not near a bathroom,” he deadpanned one last time. “No, I’m looking forward to it. I’m very honored. It really hasn’t hit home and it probably won’t hit home for a while, probably maybe induction weekend when I mess up my speech and I realize I’m one of them.”