I often play this game of seeing if I can lead you down a path to eventually come up with the name of the player before I reveal who I’ve been writing about. I thought today would be a good time to go another round, for reasons that will become obvious as we move forward.
* I finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .266 with 84 runs scored and 24 steals.
* In my third season, at 22 years of age, I had my first All-Star season as I hit .287 with 60 RBI, 80 runs and 24 steals. In fact, this was the first of 12-straight seasons that I made the All-Star team.
* In my heyday, I was a good enough all-round option to place pretty well in MVP voting even though I never won the award. At one point I had a run of 3-straight years that I finished sixth, another time I came in fourth, and once I came in third.
* My best season? It was a doozy. That year I finished third in the MVP voting all I did was hit .323 with 24 homers, 120 RBI, 138 runs scored and 37 steals. Oh, I also posted a rather impressive .422 OBP helping me to produce a .955 OPS. The homers, RBI and runs scored were career bests, but I also scored 132 runs in another season, had two more years where I went deep 20 times, and had four other seasons in which I drove in more than 88 runs.
* In my career I managed to hit an even .300 (thanks to 2,724 hits) while hitting 210 homers as I knocked in 1,134 runs, scored 1,508 (40th all-time), and swiped 474 bags.
* I wasn’t just some offensive minded moron either, I could pick it to. Actually, I was more than just pretty good with the glove, some even called me poetic with the leather, as I won 6-straight Gold Gloves at one point and 10 overall.
Who am I? I’m Roberto Alomar.
Why do I bring up this retired great? Because he is eligible for the Hall of Fame for first time this year, and though I don’t know whether he will be elected on his first go ground, I would like to wholeheartedly through my hat in the ring of his supporters. Sure he has had some off-field incidents and that time where he spat in an umpires face obviously was a low point, but it’s not like every man already enshrined in the Hall of Fame was a good guy (take my word for it). And honestly, I don’t really care if he was a jerk face or not, the Hall of Fame is for great players and it is undeniable that he was just that. You can look at the raw numbers, and they are certainly impressive for any player especially one who played second base (he is one of just five men in history, and the only second baseman, to hit at least .300 with 1,100 RBI, 1,500 runs, 500 doubles and 450 steals. The others are Paul Molitor, Ed Delahantry, Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb). But it’s how he was viewed when he played that really speaks to his greatness, and when you make 12 All-Star teams and walk away from the game with 10 Gold Gloves, you were clearly thought of as the best at what you did during your career.
Will Alomar join other first ballot Hall of Famers when the results are announced on January 6th? I certainly hope so, because whether or not he was a good guy matters not, the man was a fantastic player and arguably one of the five greatest all-around second basemen in the history of the game.
By Ray Flowers