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.