Monday, January 3, 2011

Roberto Alomar's Second Chance at Cooperstown

By

"This kid has a chance to be a Hall-of-Famer.
I think Roberto's getting better every year."
- Cito Gaston

"I think you're looking at one of the greatest who's ever played the position."
- Luis Rosa

"You just take Robbie Alomar's name, and then put three dots after it. He just has unlimited potential. Right now, he's the best all-around player in baseball."
- Joe Carter

"If Alomar doesn't get injured, he's on a direct line to the Hall of Fame."
- Jim Fregosi
It's incredible to think that's what Roberto Alomar's mentors, teammates, coaches, and opponents were saying about him as a 24 year old who was just hitting his stride in the major leagues.

The quotes are borrowed from Stephen Brunt's book "Second to None: The Roberto Alomar Story" which was released all the way back in 1992. But those words are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to describing the storied career of Roberto Alomar.

It was all supposed to culminate last January when Alomar was poised to be the very first Blue Jay to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was supposed to be Roberto Alomar's time to enter Cooperstown.

Folks were so confident Alomar was a lock for the HoF, that a camera crew went to his house the day of the announcement in anticipation of capturing that exciting moment on film. Unfortunately, all we saw were the tears of little Robertito Alomar and the look of disappointment on his father's face.

Now here we are one year later, hoping that one of the greatest second baseman if his era will be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his second year of eligibility.

Alomar's credentials haven't changed since last January, but I guess some writers like Jay Mariotti felt they needed to "punish" Robbie by preventing him from becoming a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Maybe after having another year to consider things, those writers (at least the ones who still have a ballot) can put their grudges aside and do the right thing.

This year however, it appears as though most of the controversy surrounding the Hall of Fame vote is focused on the players from the steroid era becoming eligible for induction into Cooperstown.

While some are busy debating whether guys like Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro should be inducted, a true talent like Roberto Alomar should have no problem garnering the necessarily votes.

If anything, I think the steroid controversy will work in Alomar's favour because there has never been any question as to whether Robbie had anything other than natural talent help him during his career.

Also, those few incidents in Roberto Alomar's past will seem pretty insignificant compared to the allegations of steroid use on the part other players such as McGwire and Palmeiro.

What's done is done, and if the Baseball Writers Association of America feels that Roberto Alomar deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame ... so be it. And if not, then I sincerely hope they will come to their senses eventually.

There's a reason why people like Cito Gaston, Luis Rosa, Joe Carter, and Jim Fregosi said the things they did about Roberto Alomar - because even they knew back then that Alomar was destined for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

When it comes to ranking the second baseman of his era, Roberto Alomar is second to none. I guess that just means it will take a second time around to prove he's worthy of that title in Cooperstown.

Can't wait until Wednesday to find out the results? 
Check out Chris Jaffe's Hall of Fame predictions over at The Hardball Times.

9 comments:

  1. Would you recommend that book, Ian? Lord knows Brunt can write.

    Alomar's a lock this year. While there are no hotel rooms available induction weekend in Cooperstown, I'm going anyway. We gotta carpool. It will be a celebration.

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  2. I'm not sure why guys like Roberto Alomar get a pass when it comes to steriods, take a look at his season while with the Cleveland Indians, his numbers sure when up (season's of .955 and .956 OPS), then fell off the map when he went to the Met's. I continue to assume that pretty much everyone was using some form of PED during that era, and it would be naive to say any one player for certain wasn't using.

    As for the Hall of Fame thing, I remember an interview conducted by Fergie Olver with Alomar after his first or second season with the Jays, and Olver opened the interview by saying 'It's obvious you will eventually be inducted into the Hall of Fame, which teams hat do you think you will wear?!

    LOL!

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  3. Nav, I only had time to read the second half of it yesterday, but from what I did read, it was pretty good. More so about the rise of the Blue Jays than Robbie Alomar, and you can never go wrong with anything from Stephen Brunt.

    Peter D, no one can ever truly say for sure, but we know for a fact that Palmeiro tested positive and McGwire admitted using PED's.

    I guess a lot of folks saw early on that Robbie was going into the Hall of Fame. Good for Fergie to pick up on that so early in Alomar's career.

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  4. I'm with Peter, but not as a reason to keep Alomar out of the hall. I don't think he used steroids, and if I was a voter he's innocent until proven guilty in my mind.

    That said, it's frustrating that some writers are deciding to make their own judgment about certain players (specifically Bagwell) who haven't been linked to PEDs. I'm assuming this is because of the type of hitter Bagwell was. Alomar seems to be safe from suspicion because he was "smooth" and "naturally gifted" or whatever, which is disingenuous on the writers' part.

    Once again, I don't think Alomar should be under the microscope. I think Bagwell shouldn't be, and both should get in to the hall this year. Likely, Alomar will and Bagwell won't.

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  5. I'm not sure how voters should approach voting for players of the steroid era, do you just not vote for those that have been caught, do you excluded all suspected players, or everyone altogether.

    I personally think Alomar should get in regardless, but to put him above other because you suspect he didn't use steroids in a time where everyone else was is wrong. It especially bugs me when they suggest that Ken Griffy Jr. was the only clean slugger of the era, how do they know that he wasn't using steroids? Logic would suggest that his statistics prove that he was using steroids, but until he or someone else admits that he was using we really can't say for sure one way or another.

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  6. Xave, in a way I feel bad for the voters because with each passing year, there is more and more steroid use speculation. What used to be a yes or no vote now has shades of grey. It's a moral dilemma that's going to get tougher and tougher as the years pass.

    Peter D, that's a great point and a question that only the BBWAA can answer. Personally, if there's no smoking gun, then there's no reason to believe that player used PED's.

    And that's the thing: we'll never ever truly know the truth, unless players come out and admit it.

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  7. I'll be very surprised if Alomar doesn't get in this year. It's kind of beyond debating. Like, at all.

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  8. Holy crap, I didn't recognize him from the picture for the video link! I thought it was his dad! I'm feeling very old now.

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  9. Mattt, it's pretty much a given, but you never know! I'll keep my fingers crossed just in case.

    Anon, he's only 42 and I only hope I look as young as Robbie does when I get to be that age.

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