Baseball BeatJuly 23, 2011
More Photos and Stories from the Hall of Fame
By Rich Lederer

We attended the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation at Doubleday Field from 4:30-5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The new event featured Terry Cashman singing Talkin' Baseball (Willie, Mickey, and the Duke), followed by Bill Conlin (J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing), Dave Van Horne (Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence), and Roland Hemond (Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award).

Barbara, Joel, and I sat in the stands on the third base side between the pitcher's mound and home plate among guests of the inductees. Jerry Reinsdorf and Dennis Gilbert sat in the row below and just to the right of us. Dave Dombrowski was sitting one row in front of them. There were other front office executives and their family members in the immediate area.

The award winners and Hall of Famers sat on a stage behind second base. Going around the diamond in alphabetical and numerical order by scorekeeper positions, the following players, managers, and executives were on stage: Bert Blyleven (see how I worked that out?), Jim Bunning, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Whitey Ford, Goose Gossage, Ferguson Jenkins, Juan Marichal, Phil Niekro, Gaylord Perry, Tom Seaver, Don Sutton, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Carlton Fisk, Orlando Cepeda, Eddie Murray, Tony Perez, Roberto Alomar, Rod Carew, Bobby Doerr, Bill Mazeroski, Joe Morgan, Ryne Sandberg, Red Schoendienst, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Robin Yount, Lou Brock, Rickey Henderson, Ralph Kiner, Jim Rice, Billy Williams, Andre Dawson, Tony Gwynn, Reggie Jackson, Al Kaline, Frank Robinson, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, Whitey Herzog, Tom Lasorda, Earl Weaver, and Pat Gillick.

At the conclusion of the presentations, we were shuttled back to the front steps of the Museum to a VIP viewing area for the Parade of Legends. The Hall of Famers were driven from Doubleday Field down Main Street to the Hall of Fame individually in the back of Ford pickup trucks. We were invited to the Hall of Fame Private Reception inside the Museum afterwards. Hors d'oeuvres and cocktails were served in the Plaque Gallery.

I met Bert and Gayle Blyleven as they walked into the Hall of Fame. Bert and I shook hands and hugged. I introduced both of them to Barbara and Joel. We talked for a few minutes and concluded the conversation with a big, firm high five. I wish I had a photo of that moment but the memory will stay with me forever.

Later that evening, Bert and I met up for a few photos. The first one is of the two of us pointing to the spot on the wall where his plaque will be installed Sunday evening.


The second is in front of Blyleven's exhibit.


Needless to say, my family and I had a great day, topped by the Hall of Fame Private Reception. Meeting up with Bert in that setting was a once in a lifetime experience.


Congratulations, Rich. As I was reading coverage of this weekend, my main question was whether you were there and getting the recognition and thanks you deserved. I'm glad to see that you were, and that you had a great time.

Thanks for the updates Rich. Congratulations to you for this special weekend in your life I've been fortunate to visit Cooperstown twice. I was there in 1961 and I had such a good time my parents brought me back a few years later for a second visit. The Hall is a place I'd very much like to visit again.

Great story and pictures! By sheer luck, I just happened to be at the game in 1986 when he got his 3000th strikeout. I might still have the scorecard. Kirby Puckett hit for the cycle, too. Where can I find exactly what it says on his plaque?

Justice prevails at last, as Bert receives the HOF plaque he deserves, and you get the recognition you earned. Did you get a famed Blyleven hot foot over the weekend?