Alomar came in package

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

When Gord Ash began talking with old friend Joe McIlvaine in the hallway of a Chicago hotel in 1990, the first name mentioned was not Roberto Alomar. In fact, he was among the last names mentioned.

The trade talks to land a future Hall of Fame player, which Ash -- not Pat Gillick -- began with the San Diego general manager as a 1-for-1 deal.

Fred McGriff for Joe Carter. That was supposed to be it.

"Do you want to make the deal bigger and include Tony Fernandez," McIlvaine was said to ask. The Jays weren't necessarily interested until they were sold by scout Moose Johnson on the value of young Alomar.

"He's the second best second baseman in baseball right now," Johnson said, referring to Ryne Sandberg as the best at the time. "If you can get him, make the deal."

And so it occurred -- the deal that transformed the Blue Jays from contender to champion. Two of the three most important home runs in Jays history were hit by Alomar and Carter -- the Ed Sprague pinch hit homer is far too underrated in importance.

One footnote: Johnson no longer scouts for the Blue Jays but the Padres never forgot about him. He works for San Diego.

HEAR AND THERE

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THIS AND THAT

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SCENE AND HEARD

The NHL may be shut down but it hasn't stopped people in Kansas City from inquiring about a franchise. There's a new arena in downtown KC and local government wants either an NHL or NBA team there ... One potential problem for Alomar, Hall of Fame candidate: He played crummy baseball for the Mets and 15% of Hall of Fame voters are in the greater New York area ... Shouldn't he have been a relief pitcher: Colorado catcher J.D. Closser? ... Will all those playing for Sweden at the world hockey championships please raise your hand? ... When asked about his wedding, the birth of his children, and college life at USC, McGwire said; "I don't want to talk about the past." ... The last time the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards made the playoffs in the same season, LeBron James was three years old. The year was 1988.

AND ANOTHER THING

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