by Adam Gruenewald
Cologne native and Central graduate Roger Eder will be the honoree at the 10th annual Fill the Hill event on Saturday.
Eder, 60, said he was enthused and a bit surprised to be this year’s honoree.
“Why me?” he said, recalling his experiences with the 1972 Hollanders state tournament team. “I was a member of the team. I just cheered and had a great time.”
A 1974 Central High School graduate and right-handed pitcher under coach Ed Braun, Eder first joined his hometown team, the Hollanders, in 1972 where he took part in the state tournament team, mostly as a cheerleader.
“There was no way a 14-year-old kid was going to come in and pitch that year,” he said, recalling fond memories. “I was just a kid on the bench. I was rubbing elbows with guys I had been watching for years. I was just a kid and sitting next to this guy and this guy and we’re playing against those guys… I was having a ball, I was playing with my idols.”
The fun times continued for Eder who maintained his love of playing baseball as a Hollander through 1982 for “average” teams.
While he was a pitcher for Central, eager to be the “focalpoint,” Eder mostly played shortstop and second base for the Hollanders, an experience he “thoroughly enjoyed.”
“I just loved it as a kid, I could throw strikes and thought I was pretty good at it,” said Eder of pitching. “Once I got to the Hollanders, the high school arm didn’t trick those old-timers. I got hit pretty good.”
Now no longer playing baseball or softball, Eder, who lives in Waconia, works as in cabinetry at Chaska Cabinetry and Millwork and also spends time with his wife Jean and their two grown kids, Arron and Nate.
Both Arron and Nate did not get fully into baseball like their dad, but Eder said he enjoys time hunting and fishing with his two sons or spending time at a cabin up north.
“We started in baseball that they turned into hunting and fishermen warriors,” said Eder.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s Fill the Hill event and catching up with his former teammates that he sees often, Eder said he was also ready for his first pitch from the mound.
“I’ve been throwing a little bit here and there so I think I can make it,” he said, laughing. “We’ll see how far away that is again.”
The Cologne Lions and the Cologne Hollanders will present the 10th annual Fill the Hill event on Saturday.
The Hollanders will face off against the Spring Hill Chargers at 4 p.m. at Fritz Field. Spring Hill from Stearns County are the inspiration for Fill the Hill.
There will be prizes and fun for the whole family and appearance by Holly and Hans the Hollanders.
Follow Adam Gruenewald on Twitter @adamgruenewald.