But Seaver possesses a fiercely passionate desire and the intelligence to profitably channel it. He may be "dull," as he once described himself, but he is purposely so. His "dullness" frees him from public pressures and allows him to cultivate his craft more freely than would otherwise be possible. Blyleven has the same freedom, but whether he has the passion and intelligence to put it to its best use is not yet clear. His pitching coach, Bob Rodgers, says Blyleven is the hardest worker he has ever met. Whether Blyleven will remain only a solidly successful pitcher or become a superstar is problematical. Unquestionably he has the raw ability.
"I've seen a lot of great arms who never succeeded like they should have," says Davey Johnson of the Atlanta Braves. "Bert had one of the best I faced when I was with the Orioles. But then he was more concerned with how hard he threw and how much his curveball broke than anything else. He didn't consistently throw to spots. I never dreaded facing him. I would wait for him to make a mistake and sooner or later he would."
Despite the mistakes he still makes, Blyleven has such overpowering stuff that he is one of the very finest pitchers in the game. Heaven help the batters if he ever becomes perfect.