Blyleven revels in Hall of Fame tour
The fan in the Red Sox cap got to within 20 feet of the Cooperstown visitor when he stopped dead in his tracks, eyes wide-eyed and mouth agape.
A moment later, Bert Blyleven approached the gentleman with a smile and his hand extended.
“How are you today?” Blyleven asked.
“I’m great,” the fan replied. “You know, Bert, it’s about time you got into the Hall of Fame.”
Blyleven took his Orientation Tour with his wife Gayle on Tuesday, preparing for his July 24 induction in Cooperstown as a member of the Class of 2011. Before touring the Museum and the archive, he took a short stroll over to Doubleday Field – reminiscing about his trip to Cooperstown in 1980 for the Hall of Fame Game while a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On the way back to the Museum, Blyleven – dressed in a Twins windbreaker (he has broadcast Twins games on TV for the last 16 years) and blue jeans – chatted with fans on Main Street and even stopped by a few stores.
On his tour, Blyleven cheerily greeted fans lucky enough to be visiting the Hall of Fame on a once-in-a-lifetime day.
“I want to learn about Cy Young; I want to see a baseball used by Walter Johnson,” Blyleven said of his Hall of Fame brethren. “Walter Johnson had 110 shutouts? Are you kidding? How do you do that?”
Blyleven had 60 shutouts himself, powering a Hall of Fame career that included 287 wins and 242 complete games. But it was the majesty of the moment that impacted Blyleven the most on Tuesday.
“I got to play a kids’ game for 23 years in the big leagues,” Blyleven said. “That’s what this is all about, right? A kid’s dream is to be here in Cooperstown.
“If you love baseball, you have to come here. This is a baseball fan’s dream come true.”
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.