Cooperstown worthy

Roberto Alomar. (SUN FILE PHOTO/Craig Robertson)

Roberto Alomar. (SUN FILE PHOTO/Craig Robertson)

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:12 AM ET

Robbie Alomar decided to hang 'em up a week ago. We've seen yea and nay arguments for his election to the Hall of Fame ever since.

The strangest thing about the voters, who don't think he belongs in Cooperstown, is how they back up their argument with the fact he never led the Blue Jays in voting for the American League's most valuable player award in Toronto's back-to-back World Series years in 1992-93.

So, really, how valuable could he be, they argue?

If you want to identify the team's best player, you either ask the manager -- which I've done often when it was time to fill out an MVP ballot -- or a beat writer.

Like trying to decide whether Manny Ramirez or David Ortiz is the better MVP candidate with the 2003 Boston Red Sox. Ortiz finished fifth and Ramirez sixth.

Or like Hall of Famer Gary Carter or Keith Hernandez with the 1986 New York Mets. The former was third, the latter fourth.

Or who is the best chemist with the Oakland A's?

In 1992, the Jays' player of the year, as voted by the Toronto writers, was Alomar. Not that we're any wiser about the game, but you should know more about a team you cover from February to September, well into October in those days, than a team you see five or six times a season.

Oakland's Dennis Eckersley won in 1992 with 15 first-place votes, while Joe Carter received four first-place votes to finish third and DH Dave Winfield placed fifth. Alomar was sixth.

Yet locally, Alomar gained 11 of 15 first-place votes as Toronto's player of the year.

The next year when the votes were released, Frank Thomas, a one-man show with the Chicago White Sox, won as a unanimous choice. Paul Molitor was second and John Olerud was third. Alomar finished sixth.

Molitor won locally, followed closely by Alomar, who also won in 1991, receiving 14 of 17 votes.

In 1991, Baltimore Orioles' Cal Ripken won the MVP honour with Carter finishing fifth and Alomar sixth.

We've had discussions about the voting populace with former Jays manager Cito Gaston over the years. He used to say they were either bias or racist.

We argued the two biggest faults we as voters had were preconceived notions or expectations. Like in 1989 when the Baltimore Orioles were coming off a 107-loss season and were eliminated by the Jays in Game 161.

That 1989 season, Gaston's rookie year when he took over from Jimy Williams with a 12-24 record and reached the post-season, was his best managing job.

Yet, the manager of the year honour went to Baltimore's Frank Robinson. Why? Because the Orioles were supposed to do diddly and did a lot.

Our other problem as voters is the way we fall in love with RBIs. In 1991, Alomar had 69 RBIs, second-best on the team.

Then he had 76 RBIs, third highest on the team, and in 1993 he finished fourth with 93 RBIs.

Yet, he led in preventing runs with his glove and arm, in creating runs with stolen bases and bunts. In 1992, he led in runs scored.

We've had our differences and he wouldn't speak to me from the time he acted like an immature brat for spitting at umpire John Hirshbeck as I, along with everyone else, criticized him in 1996.

Finally, in September of 2003 we spoke.

He remains the best second baseman we've ever seen.

Not speaking is no reason for me to act like an immature brat and not vote for him in five years.


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