Jan 13

Lederer and Blyleven meet

Rich Lederer and Bert Blyleven met in a surprise visit at a Minnesota Twins fantasy camp event Wednesday. David Dorsey of the Fort Meyers (Fla.) News-Press has the story:

… Rich Lederer, 55, had never played catch with Blyleven, had never been on a baseball field with him and so of course never had been subjected to the current Minnesota Twins broadcaster’s penchant for issuing friendly putdowns.

All of that changed Tuesday night and all day Wednesday.

“You’ve got an 18.00 ERA!” Blyleven shouted at Lederer on Wednesday morning at the Lee County Sports Complex, where Lederer got lit up while pitching in a fantasy camp game. “Hey Rich! Try to get an out, why don’t you!”

The two baseball fanatics met face-to-face for the first time in a surprise for Blyleven arranged by Minnesota Twins Fantasy Camp organizers Stan Dickman and Jay Harris.

Harris phoned Lederer last week and convinced him — an easy task — to visit Fort Myers in order to finally meet Blyleven.

The two had spoken on the phone over the years.

“It was a very nice surprise,” said Blyleven, 59, who was honored with a banquet Tuesday night at the Holiday Inn Express in south Fort Myers. That’s where Dickman asked Blyleven toward the end of the evening if he would like to meet Lederer, who then stood from the audience and approached Blyleven.

They embraced.

“There are very few times in your life when you get caught speechless,” said Dan Williams, 50, a fantasy camper from Minneapolis who witnessed their meeting. “Bert was caught speechless.” …

Technically, the two had met once before, when Lederer umpired a scout-league game that Blyleven pitched approximately 40 years ago. That doesn’t take away from what a great moment this was.