Roberto Alomar
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Roberto Alomar

Roberto Alomar
Roberto Alomar 2011.jpg
Alomar at the 2011 Hall of Fame Induction Parade
Second baseman
Born: (1968-02-05) February 5, 1968 (age 51)
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Batted: Switch Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 22, 1988, for the San Diego Padres
Last MLB appearance
September 5, 2004, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Batting average.300
Hits2,724
Home runs210
Runs batted in1,134
Stolen bases474
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgBaseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg
Induction2011
Vote90.0% (second ballot)

Roberto "Robbie" Alomar Velázquez (; Spanish pronunciation: [alo'ma?]; born February 5, 1968)[1] is a Puerto Rican former Major League Baseball (MLB) player who played for the San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox, and Arizona Diamondbacks (1988-2004). He is regarded as one of the greatest second basemen and all-around players of all time.[2][3] During his career, the 12-time All-Star won more Gold Glove Awards for his defense (10) than any other second baseman in baseball history, in addition to winning four Silver Slugger Awards for his hitting.[4] Among second basemen, he ranks third in games played (2,320), fifth in stolen bases (474), sixth in plate appearances (10,400), seventh in doubles (504) and assists (6,524), and eighth in hits (2,724), runs (1,508), at bats (9,073), and double plays turned (1,407). In 2011, Alomar was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, becoming the first Hall of Fame member to be depicted as a Blue Jays player on his plaque.[5]

The son of MLB second baseman Sandy Alomar Sr., Alomar followed in his father's footsteps, signing with the Padres as an amateur free agent in 1985. He made his major league debut with the team three years later, establishing himself as an exceptional base-stealing, hitting, and fielding threat before becoming an All-Star in 1990. He was traded to the Blue Jays the following off-season, leading the team to three consecutive American League Championship Series (ALCS) appearances and being named the 1992 ALCS Most Valuable Player (MVP), culminating in back-to-back World Series championships in 1992 and 1993. Alomar signed with the Orioles after the 1995 season, led the team to two ALCS appearances, and won the 1998 All-Star Game MVP Award in his final year with the team. He then joined the Indians for three seasons and had the most productive years of his career in 1999 and 2001, again leading his team to the playoffs and becoming an AL MVP Award finalist both years. Alomar spent the final years of his career with the Mets, White Sox, and Diamondbacks before retiring at spring training in 2005.

A switch hitter, Alomar finished his career with a .300 batting average; he is the Blue Jays' franchise record holder for career batting average. Shortly after his 2011 Hall of Fame induction, the Blue Jays retired his number 12. He currently serves as a special assistant to the Blue Jays organization.

Early life

Alomar was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and raised in Salinas, Puerto Rico.[6] The son of Santos "Sandy" Alomar Sr. and María Velázquez, Alomar grew up in a baseball family.[1][7] He and his older brother Sandy Jr. were raised mostly by their mother, due to their father's major league career.[8] When school in Puerto Rico was out for the summer, they joined their father, who let his sons hang around the clubhouse, shag fly balls, and absorb the game--especially from his New York Yankees teammates, such as Thurman Munson and Graig Nettles.[9] Growing up, Alomar idolized his father and José Cruz, both of whom were second basemen.[9][10]

Career

San Diego Padres

In 1985, Alomar signed with the San Diego Padres at age 17, and joined the team's Class-A affiliate, the Charleston Rainbows.[7] The following year, playing for the Reno Padres, he won the California League batting title with a .346 average.[7]

Alomar made his major league debut on April 22, 1988 against the Houston Astros, recording a hit in his first at bat, off of Nolan Ryan.[11] With the Padres, he established himself as a solid hitter and baserunner, and defensively, he displayed excellent lateral range and a powerful arm, often making spectacular plays on ground balls hit deep in the hole between first and second base, and on balls hit up the middle, well behind second base. He became an All-Star for the first time in 1990, as a reserve player for the National League.[7]

Toronto Blue Jays

"I don't think we'd have ever gone to the World Series in '92 if he didn't hit that home run off Eckersley in Oakland that day like 4:30 in the afternoon when you could hardly see at the plate [because of the shadows]."

- Pat Gillick, Hall of Famer and former Blue Jays general manager[12]

On December 5, 1990, Alomar and Joe Carter were traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernández.[13][14] It was in Toronto that he developed into a premier offensive second baseman, combining a .300-plus batting average with power and high end speed on the bases. In 1991, he capitalized on his speed with 11 triples and 53 stolen bases, leading the team to its first of three consecutive playoff appearances.[15] The following year, he scored 105 runs, drew 87 walks, and had a .405 on-base percentage.[15] In 1993, Alomar had his best season with the Blue Jays, producing 17 home runs (HR), 93 runs batted in (RBI), and 55 stolen bases, while batting .326, third in the American League behind teammates John Olerud and Paul Molitor.[15] He was a central figure in Toronto's World Series championships in 1992 and 1993; in Game 6 of the 1992 World Series, he scored the series-winning run on Dave Winfield's two-run double in the 11th inning. Alomar's game-tying, ninth-inning home run against Oakland relief ace Dennis Eckersley, in Game 4 of the 1992 American League Championship Series (ALCS), is considered by many as the most important hit in the club's history,[12] as the team's three previous trips to the ALCS had ended in disappointment; he was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the series.[7] In 1995, he played 104 consecutive games without committing an error, setting an AL record for second basemen.[16] In each of his five seasons with the Blue Jays, Alomar was named to the All-Star team and won the Gold Glove Award.[15]

Baltimore Orioles

Alomar (left) with Ozzie Guillén during spring training, 1998

On December 21, 1995, Alomar signed with the Baltimore Orioles at a time when Toronto was looking to rebuild, while Baltimore was improving into a pennant-contending team. In Baltimore, he paired with Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. to form a formidable double-play combination. Alomar appeared in the playoffs in 1996 and 1997 for the Orioles, hitting a series-winning home run in Game 4 of the 1996 American League Division Series (ALDS),[17] although the Orioles were defeated in the ALCS both years.[15] In 1998, he was named the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game MVP.[15]

Spitting incident

On September 27, 1996, during a game against the Blue Jays, Alomar got into a heated argument over a called third strike with umpire John Hirschbeck and spat in his face. He defended himself by saying Hirschbeck had uttered a racial slur and that Hirschbeck had been bitter since one son had died of ALD and another had been recently diagnosed as well. Upon hearing this public disclosure of his private life, Hirschbeck had to be physically restrained from confronting Alomar in the players' locker room.[18]

Alomar was suspended for the first five regular season games in 1997 and donated $50,000 to ALD research. Alomar and Hirschbeck settled their differences publicly and made apologies to each other on April 22, 1997, standing at home plate and shaking hands in front of the crowd before an Orioles game.

Cleveland Indians

On November 24, 1998, Alomar signed a four-year contract with the Cleveland Indians,[14] joining his brother, Sandy Jr. It was in Cleveland that Alomar had two of his finest seasons. In 1999, he hit .323/.422 on-base percentage/.533 slugging percentage, with 24 HRs, 120 RBI, and 37 stolen bases, and in 2001, he batted .336/.415/.541, with 20 HRs, 100 RBI, and 30 steals.[15] Cleveland made the playoffs in 1999, losing in the ALDS to the Boston Red Sox; in 2001, they again made the playoffs, but lost to the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS. Alomar finished third in AL MVP voting in 1999 and fourth in 2001.[15]

On the field, Alomar teamed with shortstop Omar Vizquel to form another decorated middle infield combination. In 2000, with Vizquel committing just three errors all season long, the entire Cleveland infield committed 34 errors--just one more than the record low set by the New York Mets infield the year before. Vizquel, Alomar and third baseman Travis Fryman each won the Gold Glove Award that season; the Vizquel-Alomar duo ultimately won three consecutive Gold Gloves together, becoming one of just eight shortstop-second baseman duos to have accomplished this feat in the same year.

Alomar was traded to the New York Mets before the 2002 season, for pitcher Billy Traber and outfielders Matt Lawton and Alex Escobar.[15]

Last years

In 2002, Alomar hit only .266/.331/.376 with 53 RBI and 73 runs scored,[15] while falling apart defensively at second base. The Mets were puzzled by Alomar's mediocre play, which some attributed to his lack of comfort with being under the greater scrutiny of the New York fans and media. However, not even a midseason trade back to the American League to the Chicago White Sox in 2003 could revive Alomar from his funk. There was more misery ahead with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004, including a two-month disabled stint with a broken right hand. On August 5, Alomar returned to the White Sox, and hit just .263/.321/.392 in 56 games.[15]

Alomar agreed to a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for the 2005 season. However, on March 19, 2005, after a spring training plagued by back and vision trouble, he decided to retire.[2]

Legacy

BlueJays 12 retired.png
Roberto Alomar's number 12 was retired by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011.

Time called Alomar "the best second baseman of t[his] generation" and he is regarded as one of the greatest second basemen and all-around players of all time.[2][3] Known for his acrobatic and flamboyant style of defense, Alomar won 10 Gold Glove Awards, establishing a major league record for second basemen.[19][20] He ranks in the top 10 of several all-time categories for second basemen, including games played, stolen bases, plate appearances, doubles, assists, hits, runs, at bats, and double plays turned.[21][22] In a 17-year career, he was a .300/.371/.443 hitter with 210 home runs and 1,134 RBI; his .307 career batting average as a member of the Blue Jays is a franchise record.[15][23] He was the Blue Jays Player of the Year in 1991, 1992, and 1995, as well as the Cleveland Indians Man of the Year in 1999 and 2001.[24] A clutch hitter, Alomar had a .313 postseason average, including a .347 average in two World Series appearances.[15] His game-tying home run in Game 4 of the 1992 ALCS is often considered the most important hit in Blue Jays history, as it changed the fortunes of the franchise.[12][25]

Alomar was known for having a "sixth sense" or "sixth tool"--awareness--which distinguished him from other players.[26][27] His former manager Davey Johnson said of him, "He reminds me of some of the great players that I've played with, who seem like they write their own script  ... Frank Robinson's one, Henry Aaron was the other."[19] He became only the third Puerto Rican to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, after Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda, and has since been joined by Iván Rodríguez and Edgar Martínez.[28]

Post-playing activities

Alomar's jersey retirement ceremony in Toronto on July 31, 2011

On April 4, 2008, Alomar was inducted into the Blue Jays Level of Excellence at Rogers Centre, prior to the team's home opener.[29]

In 2010, Alomar's first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, he missed induction by eight votes. His 73.7% of the vote was the highest percentage of votes in any player's first year on the ballot without being elected. Some baseball writers expressed shock that he failed to get in on the first ballot,[30] but many attributed the near-miss to sportswriters holding a grudge over the 1996 spitting incident with John Hirschbeck, including Alomar's brother Sandy Jr. and Hirschbeck himself.[31] He was elected to the Hall of Fame in his second year of eligibility, with 90% of the vote (523 of 581 ballots cast).[32] On July 24, 2011, Alomar was inducted into the Hall of Fame, becoming the first inductee to be depicted as a Blue Jays player on his plaque.[33]

On June 19, 2010, Alomar was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ontario.[34]

The 2011 Caribbean Series was dedicated to him, which was followed by his induction into the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame.[35]

On March 31, 2011, Alomar was named as a special assistant to the Blue Jays organization.[36] The following year, he began hosting the annual Tournament 12 (T12) showcase at Rogers Centre for Canadian baseball prospects; major leaguers Josh Naylor, Mike Soroka, and Abraham Toro are alumni of the tournament.[37][38]

On July 31, 2011, the Blue Jays retired Alomar's number 12 at Rogers Centre; he became the first player in franchise history to receive the honor.[39]

On August 3, 2013, Alomar was inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame.[17]

On November 12, 2013, Alomar launched a baseball equipment line, Alomar Baseball.[40]

On September 24, 2015, Alomar was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in Toronto.[41]

Alomar guest starred on an episode of Canadian sitcom Mr. D in an episode when students ran an "Alomar for President" campaign during the Student Council Elections.

Personal life

Alomar married Puerto Rican model Maripily Rivera on June 1, 2009. The next year, Rivera alleged that she had been victim of aggression from Alomar and that she wanted to end the marriage. Alomar alleged that Rivera had threatened to divorce him unless he gave her half ownership of his Tampa residence.[42] The divorce was finalized on July 12, 2011 with a private settlement.[43][44]

On December 12, 2012, Alomar married Toronto native Kim Perks at the Art Gallery of Ontario.[45] Their first daughter was born in 2014.[46] Alomar resides in Toronto.[47]

Awards and highlights

Alomar's 1994 Gold Glove Award

Awards

Award / Honor Time(s) Date(s)
MLB All-Star 12 1990-2001
AL Gold Glove Award (2B) 10 (MLB Record) 1991-96, 1998-2001
AL Silver Slugger Award (2B) 4 1992, 1996, 1999, 2000
Toronto Blue Jays Player of the Year 3 1991, 1992, 1995
Cleveland Indians Man of the Year 2 1999, 2001
ALCS Most Valuable Player 1 1992
MLB All-Star Game Most Valuable Player 1 1998

Statistical highlights

League leader

Other milestones

  • batted over .300 nine times (1992-97, 1999-2001)
  • posted an on-base percentage over .400 five times (1992, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2001)
  • scored 100 or more runs six times (1992, 1993, 1996, 1999-2001)
  • drove in 100 or more runs twice (1999, 2001)
  • stole 30 or more bases eight times (1989, 1991-93, 1995, 1999-2001)

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Porter, David L. (2004). Latino and African American athletes today: a biographical dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-313-32048-4. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "12-time All-Star retires; has back, vision problems". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Associated Press. March 19, 2005. Archived from the original on May 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  3. ^ a b Namee, Matthew (June 28, 2004). "Roberto Alomar: A Forgotten Legend?". The Hardball Times. Archived from the original on May 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  4. ^ "Silver Slugger Award Winners - National League". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on May 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  5. ^ Kepner, Tyler (January 5, 2011). "Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven Elected to Hall of Fame". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Van Hyning, Thomas E.; Eduardo Valero (2004). Puerto Rico's Winter League: A History of Major League Baseball's Launching Pad. McFarland. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-7864-1970-8. Retrieved 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d e Britton, John A (2002) [1992]. Dawson, Dawn P (ed.). Great Athletes. 1 (Revised ed.). Salem Press. pp. 49-51. ISBN 1-58765-008-8.
  8. ^ "Roberto Alomar Biography". www.bookrags.com.
  9. ^ a b Lubinger, Bill (July 19, 2011). "Roberto Alomar's long route to Cooperstown glory ran through Cleveland". Cleveland.com. Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ Kepner, Tyler (January 4, 2010). "Roberto Alomar Awaits the Hall's Call". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013.
  11. ^ Houston Astros at San Diego Padres Box Score, April 22, 1988 Baseball-Reference.com. Accessed on April 29, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c Gillick, Alomar fittingly enter Hall together MLB.com. Accessed on February 24, 2012.
  13. ^ Wolpin, Stewart; Robinson, James G. "Roberto Alomar". BaseballLibrary.com. Idea Logical Company. Archived from the original on May 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  14. ^ a b "Roberto Alomar from the Chronology". BaseballLibrary.com. Idea Logical Company. Archived from the original on May 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Roberto Alomar Baseball-Reference.com. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  16. ^ Second to None The Baltimore Sun. Accessed on July 9, 2019.
  17. ^ a b MLB: Robbie Alomar enters Orioles Hall of Fame Toronto Star. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  18. ^ Wulf, Steve (June 24, 2001). "The Spit Hits The Fan". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2009.
  19. ^ a b Roberto Alomar National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  20. ^ MLB National League Gold Glove Award Winners Baseball-Reference.com. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  21. ^ Roberto Alomar - Appearances on Leaderboards, Awards, and Honors Baseball-Reference.com. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  22. ^ Second Base JAWS Leaders Baseball-Reference.com. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  23. ^ Toronto Blue Jays - Statistics MLB.com. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  24. ^ Cleveland Indians Man of the Year Award Baseball-Almanac.com. Accessed on July 7, 2019.
  25. ^ Roberto Alomar Recalls His Game 4 1992 ALCS Home Run National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  26. ^ Roberto Alomar's long route to Cooperstown glory ran through Cleveland Cleveland.com. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  27. ^ Howarth, Jerry (2019). Hello, Friends!: Stories from My Life and Blue Jays Baseball. ECW Press. ISBN 9-78177305-353-0.
  28. ^ Why two MLB managers hugged it out in Boston today Quartz. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  29. ^ Jays add Alomar, Beeston to Level of Excellence Toronto Star. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  30. ^ Rosenthal, Ken (January 7, 2010). "Snub of Alomar exposes flaw in voting". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2018.
  31. ^ "Eight votes shy, Alomar 'disappointed'". Major League Baseball.
  32. ^ "News - 2010 BBWAA Election Results". community.baseballhall.org.
  33. ^ Torres, Adry (July 24, 2011). "Roberto Alomar Enters Hall of Fame".
  34. ^ nurun.com. "Alomar, Quantrill inducted in Hall of Fame". The London Free Press.
  35. ^ Ribas, Fernando (January 26, 2011). "Dedican Serie del Caribe a Roberto Alomar". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). El Nuevo Dia. Retrieved 2011.
  36. ^ Jays name Roberto Alomar special assistant The Globe and Mail Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  37. ^ Alomar likes potential he sees at Tournament 12 MLB.com. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  38. ^ Astros are bullish on Canadian prospect Abraham Toro Toronto Star. Accessed on September 1, 2019.
  39. ^ "Blue Jays to retire Alomar's No. 12". The Toronto Star. Archived from the original on April 26, 2016. Retrieved 2011.
  40. ^ Robbie Alomar unveils baseball equipment line Toronto Sun. Accessed on June 27, 2019.
  41. ^ "Roberto Alomar".
  42. ^ Fish, Mike (December 1, 2012). "Drama follows retired baseball All-Star". ESPN.
  43. ^ Vargas, Patricia (July 12, 2011). "Maripily divorciada y millonaria". El Nuevo Día.
  44. ^ Gómez, María Gabriela (July 12, 2011). "Maripily ya esta divorciada". Primera Hora.
  45. ^ Elliott, Bob (December 12, 2012). "Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar marries in Toronto on 12-12-12". Toronto Sun.
  46. ^ "Se convierte en padre Roberto Alomar". El Nuevo Día. April 11, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  47. ^ Roberto Alomar impressed by Jose Reyes SLAM! Sports. Accessed on June 20, 2013.

External links


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