“Roberto Alomar, arguably one of the greatest second basemen to ever play the game didnâ€™t garner the necessary 75% of voters needed.
I donâ€™t get it.”
Before I begin, I mean what follows to be in no way a slight on the career of Andre Dawson.Â When I was growing up, Dawson was one of the first players who didnâ€™t play in my hometown that I became aware of.Â I loved watching his power. Â It was an incredible sight when he uncorked that cannon of an arm.Â He retired in 1996, and, knowing that he was a borderline Hall-of-Fame candidate, I waited patiently for the day that he would take his rightful place in Cooperstown.
This past Tuesday, that day came.Â The Baseball Writers of America voted to elect Andre Dawson to the Hall of Fame.Â The only problem?Â He went in alone.
I donâ€™t get it.
As a Yankee fan, Alomarâ€™s unique combination of speed, power, and defense terrified me.Â Rightfully so.Â In his seventeen seasons, Alomar batted .314 against New York.Â He amassed a .375 OBP, knocked 148 hits, scored 89 runs, knocked in 67, and popped 32 doubles.Â His success against the Yankees was a microcosm for the type of achievement that characterized Alomarâ€™s entire career.
Over seventeen seasons, Alomarâ€™s numbers speak for themselves: .300 batting average, .371 OBP, 2724 hits, 1508 runs, 210 HR, 504 doubles, 1134 RBI, and 474 SB.Â On top of all that, Alomar was voted to twelve All-Star games.Â He won ten Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers, and two World Series titles.Â In 1999, Roberto Alomar led the American League with 138 runs scored.Â For a decade, Alomar was the best second baseman in baseball.
Take a look at how Alomar stacks up against his historical peers.Â Some of the recent second basemen inducted into the Hall of Fame are Ryne Sandberg, Joe Morgan, and Rod Carew.Â Sandberg retired after the 1997 and was inducted in 2005.Â Compared with Alomar, in 16 seasons, Sandberg only accrued more homers (282), while totaling a lower batting average (.285) and OBP (.344), less hits (2386), runs (1318), RBI (1061), doubles (403), and stolen bases (344).Â In 19 seasons, Carew, a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, built up a higher batting average (.328), OBP (.393), and number of hits (3053), but he accumulated less runs (1424), homers (92), doubles (445), RBI (1015), and stolen bases (187).Â In his twenty-two seasons, Morgan surpassed Alomar in runs (1650), homers (268), stolen bases (689), and OBP (.392), while falling short in the categories of batting average (.271), total hits (2517), doubles (449), and RBI (1133).
To this argument, I submit Bill Mazeroski.Â Alomar far exceeds Mazeroski in all categories: .260 average, .299 OBP, 2016 hits, 769 runs, 138 HR, 294 doubles, 853 RBI, and 27 stolen bases.Â Mazeroski may have won a World Series game with a home run, but he never won an MVP.Â Yet, after waiting 29 years, he can add â€œHall-of-Fame baseball playerâ€ to his rÃ©sumÃ©.Â Roberto Alomar canâ€™t.
Maybe the incident where Alomar spit on umpire John Hirschbeck blocks the second basemanâ€™s path to Cooperstown?Â However, men of questionable ethics and character proudly line the venerable walls of the Hall of Fame.Â Ty Cobb, who received more votes than any other man on the inaugural Hall of Fame ballot, was a dyspeptic and violent bigot, equally famous for using his spikes to tear up the shins and calves of opposing middle infielder as he was for his excellence as a ball player.Â Juan Marichal, often touted as a bastion of pitching excellence, beat an opposing pitcher with a bat a la Robert DeNiro in The Untouchables.
To paraphrase Denzel Washington in Philadelphia, explain this to me like Iâ€™m a five year old.Â Roberto Alomar is generally agreed to be one of the greatest second basemen of all time.Â His career numbers exist on a level either equal to or above those of Hall-of-Famers who played his position.Â Yet, he falls short of the Hall by less than 2% of the votes?
Ultimately, Iâ€™m sure Alomar will make it to Cooperstown.Â He just shouldnâ€™t have to wait 29 years to do so.