Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Roberto Alomar Got Jobbed

Something has to be done about voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame because the system is broken. There is no disputing this. For starters, the same writers who looked the other way as players turned into body builders and baseballs started flying out of ball parks at an alarming rate are the same people who refuse to vote for Mark McGwire for the Hall of Fame.

Secondly, as this year's voting clearly proves, defense doesn't mean a damn thing unless your name is Ozzie Smith. But in this era of Hall of Fame voting, you can be the best defensive player at your position for more than a decade and it doesn't mean dick. Even if you're a really, really good but not quite great offensive player. That's bullshit. If you are a great, and I mean truly great defensive player — say the best defensive second baseman of your generation and perhaps of all time — and a pretty damn good offensive player, you deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. There are plenty of great offensive players who couldn't catch a pop-up populating the Hall. And that's a joke. Defense is every bit as important as offense in baseball. And there was none better at picking it at second base than Roberto Alomar.

Yet, Alomar — and the excellent defensive shortstop Barry Larkin for that matter — didn't get in this year, his first eligible for the Hall. No, only Andre Dawson made it. And that's a crock of shit. Alomar was by far the best defensive second baseman of the past 25 years. I mean miles better than anyone else. During his 17-year playing career that spanned from 1988-2004, Alomar won nine Gold Gloves, including six straight. And more importantly, he actually deserved them. Every one of them. Because, forgive me for the hyperbole but, Alomar was a god damn magician in the field. He made plays so jaw-droppingly awesome that they defied the laws of physics. Like in the 1993 World Series. As painful as it was to see Alomar and the Blue Jays topple the Phils, in that series Alomar made the single greatest play I've ever seen a second baseman make. Lenny Dykstra hit a hump-back line drive over first baseman John Olerud's heading toward foul territory. I mean, the ball went just over him. Then out of nowhere, Alomar came flying into the screen, propelling himself horizontally and making an insane diving catch a few feet in foul territory. From second base. And he wasn't playing any sort of Ryan Howard shift. Sure, it was a play that turned into an out for the Phils, but it was fucking incredible.

And that was routine for Alomar, making spectacular plays. He did it with such regularity that the obscenely awesome play simply became routine with him. And as I stated before, watching him turn mesmerizing double plays with Omar Vizquel was the most beautiful thing in the sport to watch. The guy literally saved hundreds of runs in his career with his glove and his arm. But none of that matters. Because he didn't hit 500 home runs.

Here's the most baffling thing though. It's not like Roberto Alomar was chopped liver at the plate. I mean, look at his numbers. He's a career .300 hitter. He has a respectable .371 on-base percentage, .443 slugging percentage and .814 OPS. Not bad for a second baseman. Add in the fact that he has 2,724 hits, good for 53rd all time; 504 doubles (47th all time); 80 triples; 210 home runs, 1,134 RBIs; 474 stolen bases (37th all time); 1,508 runs (63rd all time); and 4,018 total bases (76th all time), and you have yourself a pretty good hitter. Not the greatest hitter ever, but a really good one, sure. He also made 12 all-star games and won the silver slugger three times. Not bad.

Take into account his fucking incredible defense along with those numbers, and you got yourself a Hall of Famer. Only you don't, because the people who vote for this honor are morons. Also, I'm guessing the fact that he spit on an umpire didn't help his cause.

But that shouldn't take away from the fact that he was a truly great player. Roberto Alomar deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and he deserved to get in the first chance he had.

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. Great points, here. Unfortunately, great defensive second baseman like Alomar are hard to find these guys, which is all more reason why he should have been a no-brainer first ballot Hall of Fame Inductee.

    All his mistakes aside, Alomar was easily the best player on that list of nominees, but because of politics within the BBWAA, Alomar will have to wait another year.

    It's a damn shame, that's all I can say.

  2. I am glad only 1 guy made it. The Hall of Fame should only be for the most special of players. Sorry Bert Blyleven. If you have to beg and cry as much as you and your supporters do you dont deserve to be in the hall. From everything I've read you were a good pitcher for a long time, but not great. Hall of Fame = Greatness.

    Saying that, Alomar and Larkin both deserve it. They will both get in too. The 1st ballot is so important to those writers for some reason though. What the hell is the difference? If they get in year 1 or year 4 they still get in. Dumb writers.