Roberto Alomar’s Second Chance at Cooperstown
“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.