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The man who sold the BBWAA on Bert Blyleven

Jan 4, 2011, 1:31 PM EDT

Blyleven Angels

Yesterday Jon Heyman made a reference to “the small coterie of Internet zealots” who are responsible for getting BBWAA voters to change their minds about Bert Blyleven and push him to the brink of election to the Hall of Fame.  While Heyman was unbelievably snotty in writing it like he did, he wasn’t technically wrong.  There is one man whose zeal — and unlike my friend Jon, I don’t consider that an epithet — rises above all others: Rich Lederer of Baseball Analysts.

Jon Paul Morosi profiles Rich today, and one thing is 100% clear: Lederer is no blogger stereotype trapped in the basement and telling baseball writers that they shouldn’t believe their own eyes. He’s a fan. A passionate one, whose father was a big league baseball writer, and who took up the cause of Blyleven’s Hall of Fame candidacy, not because his slide rule told him to, but because it just made a ton of sense.  Morosi does a good job with his story, and I recommend it.

It’s also worth noting that Blyleven isn’t the only person who got a boost from Rich Lederer. He may not realize it, but if it wasn’t for Rich, I probably wouldn’t be blogging here today. Rich was good enough to give me a couple of guest posts over at Baseball Analysts back in 2008 when no one knew who I was. Dave Studeman from the Hardball Times saw and liked those and that eventually led to him inviting me to bring my old Shysterball blog over to THT.  If I’m not writing at THT, it’s kind of doubtful that I’d have a sufficient profile to make anyone at NBC give a hoot about me.

So, thank you Rich.  Both for what you did for Bert Blyleven’s worthy candidacy, and for what you did for me.

  1. Jonny 5 - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    How do you do it Craig? You’re like a total freak when it comes to writing. Thank goodness you got out of being a Lawyer for life. You can now be happy doing what you were meant to do. I honestly think blog master is not even adequate for your skills. I’d bet, if you had the time, you could be one of the better journalists in the biz, and get a vote if you know what I mean. Any chance of that? Ever? Although you’d be rubbing elbows with the likes of men who hate your guts, but as an ex lawyer I guess that isn’t a concern either.. Just don’t forget you got your chance because you deserved it. Rich was just one of the guys to see that, and act on it.

    Thanks for changing your pic of Burt, but it still isn’t as good as this…

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      Thanks Jonny. I have no idea if I’ll ever be in the BBWAA, but you know what they say about clubs that would have me as a member …

  2. Utley's Hair - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    So Tiffany has Rich Lederer to thank for her basement captivity? And Mookie has him to thank for her interwebs fame?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:55 PM

      I guess so.

      And attention: my son decided this morning that he doesn’t like me calling him Tyrus Raymond in my personal bio, so henceforth he shall be known as Oil Can.

      Mookie approved of this and has been calling him that all day.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:31 PM

        Well, when he gets older he’ll realize the error of his ways. Although Oil Can is a totally awesome nick name compared.

  3. ralederer - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Thanks, Craig. You and Blyleven put your talent and skills to great use without my doing. I just did my small part in promoting you and Bert. Both of you made that an easy thing to do. Here’s hoping Blyleven makes it tomorrow and that you receive your much-deserved BBWAA badge sooner rather than later.


    Rich Lederer

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 4, 2011 at 10:35 PM

      Have you ever wished that you did this for Tommy John ???? In 26 seasons compared to Berts 22 he had less home runs allowed than Bert, less earned runs allowed, less walks allowed, and he pitched until he was 46 which messed with his lifetime totals. Also his hits allowed is only 150 hits higher in four more seasons (should be closer to 900 actually). Pretty impressive. Bert only beats him in SO and IP, so while more powerful, not really better imo.

  4. billybeaneismyhero - Jan 4, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Lederer is the man. For years I considered Blyleven to be nothing more than a compiler. Then, three years ago, I came upon one of his Blyleven pieces, and my opinion changed immediately.

    Plus, he’s an Ayn Rand fan, so that gives him bonus points in my book.

  5. bc666 - Jan 4, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    The HOF will finally be legit again if Blyleven finally gets in.

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