No Roberto Alomar?

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Inevitably each year, before the Hall of Fame results are announced a writer or two will say that a Hall of Famer is a Hall of Famer … that if you’re good enough to enter, you’re good enough to enter on the first try.

I agree 100 percent.

Hence, I find myself shocked that the writers failed to vote in Roberto Alomar, one of the greatest second basemen in the long history of the game. I had the pleasure of covering Alomar throughout my career, and he was unambiguously brilliant at multiple facets of the game. He could field his position as well as anyone (10 Gold Gloves don’t lie). He hit .300 over a 17-year career, stole 474 bases, was a key component of two World Series champions with Toronto.

So what exactly kept Alomar out? I guess one of the issues is that he didn’t reach the magical 3,000 hits—an antiquated standard in measuring true offensive excellence. There was also the spitting incident, which scarred his reputation for the ensuing decade. Also, sometimes we in the media tend to remember a player best by his final days. Speaking as a New Yorker, Alomar was a very disappointing Met.

Once again, I’m babbling. Can someone please give me a valid reason to exclude Alomar from the Hall.

Because I’m stumped.

PS: All that said, congratulations to Andre Dawson. As a child of the ’80s, I always grouped Dawson, Dale Murphy and Mike Schmidt together as the three National League sluggers who scared the living daylights out of me.

14 thoughts on “No Roberto Alomar?”

  1. Sorry, can’t help you on Alomar, Jeff. Maybe the folks who didn’t vote for him are “punishing” him for the spitting incident, but I truly don’t get this one. I rarely give a hoot about the Hall of Fame inductees, mainly because it’s fairly trivial to me. (Kirby Puckett a Hall of Famer? Not to me. Jim Rice? Nah. Bert Blyleven? Eh, I just don’t care.) But this one really bothered me… I think, as a (relatively) lifelong Blue Jays fan, he would be the first player with a Blue Jay cap on his plaque (as Alomar himself said he wants). I’m not even sure why THAT even matters to me, but I guess it would have been kind of cool. But apparently 2700 hits and 12 All Star teams and 10 gold gloves and nearly 500 steals just aren’t HOF material… this year. Now look who’s babbling.

  2. Alomar will be there next year. I think a lot of writers are making themselves the story with their blank ballot nonsense and protest over steroids.

    One fix. Make every ballot public. Tell writers that if they don’t like it, they are free to leave.

    That will eliminate the grudges and it will eliminate the little blowjobs that lead people to vote for the 23rd guy on their home team.

  3. First I am biased, Roberto Alomar was and is my favourite player. Being a hugh baseball fan I figured Robbie was a lock and was planning my trip to cooperstown to see him get inducted. I forgot about the BBWAA! Now to be fair over 70% of them voted for Robbie but I have to wonder at the rest. If we just wanted to look at numbers why use the writers? Hire a couple of math professors who could come up with some formulas that would automatically select players. Womens golf just has you win so many tournaments and you’re in! My thinking was that baseball was a complex game and that the writers would be entrusted to select the real stars of the game for enshrinment. Instead we are treated to petty grudges, holier than thou attitudes and sheer stupidity from some.
    Mike Wilner (local blueJays baseball broadcaster) noted that he knows 4 or 5 Toronto BBWAA members that have seen less than six games in the last 4-5 years!
    I wonder if any of the writers realize that not only did they slap Robbie but also slapped all his fans? Bet they didn’t care.

  4. Maybe some writers use their own biases and prejudices instead of just looking at the numbers. You know, like you with the steroid users.

  5. Jeff-

    Would your solution re: Steroids and the HOF be to just not enshrine anyone who played from (lets just say) 1985-2005 or rather just vote in the guys who were “clean”? Clean meaning “smart enough not to get caught”

    Gotta face it, the whole era was “tainted”. Its not on guys like Clemens and Bonds to pay for the sins of an entire sport.

  6. Jeff,

    I’m not pretending steroids never existed. But isn’t calling them cheaters a reach? I think your colleague Joe Posnaski said it best:

    “The game was different then. There was no testing, and steroid use was tolerated AND accepted AND probably encouraged. It was part of the game the way spitballs were part of the game, the way gambling was part of the game, the way segregation was part of the game, the way amphetamines were part of the game and so on and so on. Baseball is testing now, and they seem reasonably committed to eliminating performance-enhancing drugs, and that’s good. I’d prefer a clean game. But it doesn’t change what baseball was in the Selig Era*, and McGwire towered over that era by mashing long home runs.”

    Blame and punishment should not go to the users. Thanks to the players’ union’s regrettable stance, there were no repercussions for steroid use, and therefore I would take Joe’s comment one step further and say players WERE encouraged to use. As Bill Simmons aptly put it,

    “We’re supposed to believe they (Hall voters) would refuse the chance to take a drug that would enable them to do their job twice as well and make 10 times as much money? Yeah, right.”

    So, if you want to truly punish those involved in the steroid era, don’t vote for anyone who was a member of the players’ union when they opposed testing from the time of the Vincent memo. They are all guilty.

  7. I fully agree. I didn’t particularly care for Alomar the guy because of the spitting incident, but as a player he was the best second baseman I’ve ever seen (I was born in ’78). His numbers are eerily similar to Joe Morgan’s, even down to fielding percentage. Joe hit more homers, but Robby hit for a better average.

    I’m a Twins fan so of course I was interested in the Bert thing, but the Alomar snub actually got me literally hollering to my buddies about it. What a farce!

  8. Alomar is by far the greatest 2nd baseman ever. He played a huge part in the reason why baseball was even watched in Toronto. Sadly, after the 93′ Blue Jays dispersed, baseball was never the same in Toronto ever again. Roberto was a great player and he should have been in the hall of fame a very long time ago but I remember hearing that he would never be nominated because he spit on an umpire one game. I think it’s completely unfair for one incident to take away what is truly deserving of this all-star.

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