Puerto Rican Prince
Sandy Alomar Sr. left a legacy at home and in the majors
By Connor O’Gara
Sandy Alomar Sr. knew a thing or two about adjusting to change. He knew how to adjust his throw to avoid a baserunner sliding into second base. He knew how to adapt to any position he was asked to play in the field. He even knew how to adjust and thrive playing baseball in a foreign land without any previous knowledge of the English language.
The Salinas, Puerto Rico, native played 15 seasons in the big leagues for six different teams. His defensive skillset and prowess on the basepaths made him a mainstay in starting lineups throughout his career. While Alomar broke into the big leagues as a second baseman, his defensive versatility made him a commodity around the big leagues.
“He has been absolutely amazing,” said Alomar’s former manager Bobby Bragan. “We take him away from a position he has played all his life (shortstop) and he looks like he had never been anywhere but second base. He makes the pivot, he makes the tough throw for a force-out after going to his left; he does it all.”
One thing Alomar rarely had to charge was his batteries. The durable utility man played in 648 consecutive games from 1969-73.
“Baseball is a matter of pride with me,” Alomar said after joining the Yankees in 1974. “I can still play shortstop and third base as well as second base. I’ll play anything they want me to play. And one thing you can believe – I’ll never stop trying.”
Alomar carried that same philosophy into his coaching career, where he spent time managing in Puerto Rico and the minor leagues in addition to multiple major league coaching stints. Alomar even coached a couple in his own backyard. His son Sandy Jr. had a 20-year Major League career while his other son Roberto became one of the greatest second basemen of all time and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011.
Alomar’s lasting contributions to Puerto Rican baseball in America made him a local favorite.
“He is a national hero in Puerto Rico,” said Alomar’s former teammate Jim Fregosi. “When we’d go on a trip by bus to another city, we’d stop by in Salinas and there would be Sandy in the middle of the town square surrounded by people.”
Connor O’Gara was the 2012 public relations intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development.
For information on how to apply for the Class of 2013 Steele Internship Program, click here