Second try

Alomar, who finished eight votes short of election in 2010, returns to BBWAA ballot

December 09, 2010
Roberto Alomar is one of 33 players on the BBWAA ballot for Hall of Fame election. (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)

View a photo gallery of the 2011 BBWAA ballot

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Roberto Alomar won a record 10 Gold Gloves in 11 years at second base and four Silver Slugger Awards during his major league career.

With all that gold and silver on his trophy rack, Alomar is now hoping for bronze.

Alomar is one of 33 players on the 2010 Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for the Class of 2011 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. In his first try on the ballot in 2010, Alomar was named on 73.7 percent of all ballots cast, falling just eight short of the 75 percent needed for election.

BBWAA members who have at least 10 years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election, and the results will be announced Jan. 5. Any candidate who receives at least 75 percent of the BBWAA vote will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2011. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 24 in Cooperstown.

Born Feb. 5, 1968 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Alomar had baseball in his blood. His father, Sandy Alomar Sr., was an All-Star second baseman in his 15-year major league career. Like his father, Roberto played second, threw right-handed and switch-hit.

"I saw my dad play, and the way he played is what impacted me," said Alomar. "He always played hard. He always gave 100 percent, and that's what I do. I idolize my dad."

Alomar's brother, Sandy, Jr., also made it to the big leagues as a catcher. He played for 20 seasons and was a six-time All-Star and 1990 Rookie of the Year.

At 18, Alomar signed with the Padres and won the California League batting title in his second year in the minors with a .346 batting average. By 1988, he was with the parent club, making a splash with his defense and speed and finishing fifth in Rookie of the Year voting. He earned his first All-Star selection in 1990.

Following that season, Alomar was traded to Toronto – where his offense took off. Alomar raised his average over .300, helping the Blue Jays to back-to-back World Series titles in 1992-1993 while finishing in third in the AL batting title race in 1993. He hit a combined .354 in four postseason series in those two championship seasons.

It was in Toronto that he established himself as one of the most complete second baseman in the game. He won a Gold Glove in each of his five years with the Blue Jays, stole 50-plus bases in two seasons and finished sixth in MVP voting three years in a row.

"Everybody can see the skills on the field," said teammate Dave Winfield, himself a Hall of Famer. "He's acrobatic, flamboyant, he's got his style."

Following the 1995 season, Alomar signed with the Baltimore Orioles. Forming a double-play combination with Cal Ripken Jr., Alomar helped his team get back to the playoffs – advancing to the ALCS in 1996 and 1997 – but also hit the low-point of his career.

On Sept. 27, 1996, Alomar got into a heated argument over a third-strike call by umpire John Hirschbeck and spat in the umpire's face.

"People make mistakes," said Hirschbeck. "You forgive, you forget and you move on."

Following the 1998 season, Alomar signed with the Cleveland Indians and played with his brother Sandy for the first time.

"This is like a dream come true," he said. "We never thought it was going to happen, but finally it is happening. Not only is it fun in the game, but out of the game, too."

It was in Cleveland that Alomar had two of his best seasons. In 1999, he hit .323 with 24 homers, 120 RBI and 37 stolen bases. He finished third in MVP voting and led the league in runs scored (138) and sacrifice flies (13). In 2001, he hit .336 with 20 homers, 100 RBI and 30 stolen bases.

Teamed with Omar Vizquel, the double-play combo won three consecutive Gold Gloves together. Only 10 shortstop-second baseman duos have won Gold Gloves in the same year. The Indians advanced to the postseason in both 1999 and 2001.

Alomar was traded to the Mets in 2002 and saw his career decline in subsequent stops with the White Sox, Diamondbacks and Devil Rays. He retired in 2005.

In 17 major league seasons, Alomar tallied 2,724 hits, 210 home runs, 1,134 RBI, a .300 batting average and .984 fielding percentage. He made 12 consecutive All-Star appearances.

"He reminds me of some of the great players that I've played with, who seem like they write their own script," said Davey Johnson, who managed Alomar with the Orioles. "Frank Robinson's one, Henry Aaron was the other."

Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum