Alomar and Blyleven will join Pat Gillick as the Class of 2011
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Roberto Alomar learned from his dad to be a professional and take the game seriously. Bert Blyleven learned from his dad to have fun in life, no matter what you do.
Apparently both fathers gave good advice.
Alomar and Blyleven were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. They will join executive Pat Gillick as the Class of 2011 to be inducted on July 24 in Cooperstown.
"I'm really honored to be apart of the Baseball Hall of Fame with the most elite ballplayers to have played the game," said Alomar. "It's an exciting moment for me."
Alomar batted .300 with a .371 on-base average and a .443 slugging percentage over a 17-season career with the San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Blyleven pitched in 22 seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and California Angels and compiled a 287-250 record with a 3.31 ERA, 242 complete games, 60 shutouts and 3,701 strikeouts in 4,969 1/3 innings.
Alomar was elected with 90 percent of the vote on his second try on the ballot. Blyleven had to wait 14 years to earn 79.7 percent.
"Fourteen years of praying and waiting and I want to thank the baseball writers for, I think, finally getting it right," said Blyleven. "I've got goosebumps."
Players can remain on the ballot for 15 years if they are not elected, as long as they earn 5 percent or more of the vote.
"This is a great day for baseball in general and Twins fans in particular," said Blyleven's Hall of Fame teammate Rod Carew. "Bert's election to the Hall of Fame is well deserved and long overdue. Bert was as fierce a competitor as I ever faced on the mound. I look forward to being in Cooperstown in July and welcoming Bert Blyleven to the most exclusive club in the world."
"I am thrilled that Bert will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame," said Harmon Killebrew. "I could not be happier if it was my own son."
Blyleven first met Alomar while playing with his dad, Sandy Alomar, Sr., in Texas in 1977. Alomar was just nine years old and played baseball with Blyleven's son.
"I got to hit against him, got to know him when I was young and now I'm going into the Hall of Fame with him," said Roberto Alomar.
The first people Alomar talked to after learning of his induction were his parents and his brother Sandy, who was his teammate in Cleveland.
"They're happy, they're happy for me and excited that I have the chance to be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame."
Blyleven isn't the only member of the Class of 2011 that Alomar has known for a long time. Alomar played for the Toronto Blue Jays under general manager Pat Gillick and won two World Series titles. After unsuccessfully trying to sign Alomar as a 16-year-old, Gillick traded for Alomar in 1991.
"Pat Gillick has been part of my life for many years," said Alomar. "Pat has been a mentor to me and it will be an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with him."
Induction Weekend will be held July 22-25 in Cooperstown, but the excitement has already begun for each of the electees. Over the next few months, they will relive the memories of their careers and examine what propelled them into the most exclusive group in sports history.
"I got to play a kid's game for a very long time," said Blyleven. "I'm now part of an elite group who love the game of baseball as much as I do."
Samantha Carr is the manager of the web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum