Alomar hoping 2011 will complete trilogy

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:49 PM ET

Roberto Alomar has a great shot at a baseball Hall of Fame Triple Crown.

He’s already in the new Latino hall.

“It’s in the Dominican and this was the first year for inductions,” the former Toronto Blue Jays second baseman said. “Roberto Clemente, Rod Carew, Felipe Alou are in. You have to be 45 to be eligible, but they made me a special exception.”

Saturday, he’s heading into the Canadian hall in St. Marys along with Paul Quantrill, Calvin Griffith and Allan Roth.

After falling eight votes short in his first time eligible on the Cooperstown ballot this year, will big No. 3 come early next year?

“Hopefully, I’ll go 3-for-3,” said the 42-year-old from Salinas, Puerto Rico. “I think I deserve to be there. This year, it was a learning experience for me. Hopefully, next year is my turn.”

Many believe Alomar, a career .300 hitter with a record 10 Gold Gloves at second, didn’t make it on first go because of the infamous spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck when he was a Baltimore Oriole in a game against the Jays 14 years ago.

“We put that behind us,” Alomar said. “It’s something that happened and it doesn’t matter any more who said what. I’ve apologized for it and we both moved on from it.”

This year, former Montreal Expo Andre Dawson, a 2004 Canadian inductee, goes into Cooperstown as the lone player voted in. Larry Walker, enshrined in St. Marys last year, is on the next ballot. Alomar said he’d like to wear his Jays cap into Cooperstown if elected — and he’d be the first one to do it.

That and his part in the Jays’ glory days are big reasons the crowd in St. Marys this weekend could top the large turnout Walker and Ernie Whitt got last year.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with the Jays,” Alomar said. “I loved my time in Canada. My son (Robertito) is here and he always asks what is the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s good for him to see these things, to know about what it means to me to be here and to meet the Canadian people, who have always been great to me.”

Seventeen years ago, those fans flocked to the diamond to watch him as part of the best team in baseball. Now, not so much.

“I hope the fans come back to Toronto this year,” Alomar said. “They’re playing better baseball now. I’ve been to the Dome (Rogers Centre) twice this year. I don’t think it’s too old. It’s still a beautiful place. For the players, they remodelled the clubhouse and it’s a lot nicer than when I was there.”

It’s become the spacious equivalent of the SkyDome digs Alomar enjoyed during his five years of living at his home ball park.

“It wasn’t just a hotel room,” he said. “What they did for me was take three rooms with doors separating them so it would make one big (unit). I had a big-screen TV in there. A pool table, too.

“I loved living there.”

Now Alomar makes home in Tampa with wife Maria. He has his own sports clothing line, fittingly called Second 2 None.

He hit the second most-famous playoff home run off Oakland reliever Dennis Eckersley — an arms-raised-in-celebration bomb during the 1992 American League championship series that propelled the Jays to their first World Series.

“I wasn’t looking for any pitch, just something in the zone,” he said. “We were down 5-1 in the eighth inning and he was one of the best relievers in the game. You don’t expect to come back, but we did.

“It ended up being a very big home run for our club.”

Alomar, of course, played right through the gut of baseball’s Steroid Era.

“It’s a touchy subject,” he said. “When we played, nothing was illegal. I didn’t go to these guys’ houses and see them take things. To me, though, you have to prove it. If you can’t, then it’s not fair to some of these guys (accused of it).”

Alomar still enjoys watching the game. But will he help create a family Triple Crown of coaches?

His dad Sandy still works with the New York Mets and is based in Florida, instructing the young prospects. His brother Sandy Jr. is Cleveland’s first base coach.

The Jays have extended an open invitation to their former star infielder.

“I’d love to do something like that,” he said. “I’m interested in working with the Jays organization again. I’d like to put on the uniform and do something as an advisor, sharing my knowledge of the game.”

How about the big job as Blue Jays manager some day?

Cito Gaston, another Canadian Hall inductee, isn’t doing it beyond this season. But Alomar doesn’t see his old boss leaving the game anytime soon.

“That guy will never retire,” he said with a laugh.

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ryanpyette

Ryan Pyette

The London Free Press

Roberto Alomar has a great shot at a baseball Hall of Fame Triple Crown.

He’s already in the new Latino hall.

“It’s in the Dominican and this was the first year for inductions,” the former Toronto Blue Jays second baseman said. “Roberto Clemente, Rod Carew, Felipe Alou are in. You have to be 45 to be eligible, but they made me a special exception.”

Saturday, he’s heading into the Canadian hall in St. Marys along with Paul Quantrill, Calvin Griffith and Allan Roth.

After falling eight votes short in his first time eligible on the Cooperstown ballot this year, will big No. 3 come early next year?

“Hopefully, I’ll go 3-for-3,” said the 42-year-old from Salinas, Puerto Rico. “I think I deserve to be there. This year, it was a learning experience for me. Hopefully, next year is my turn.”

Many believe Alomar, a career .300 hitter with a record 10 Gold Gloves at second, didn’t make it on first go because of the infamous spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck when he was a Baltimore Oriole in a game against the Jays 14 years ago.

“We put that behind us,” Alomar said. “It’s something that happened and it doesn’t matter any more who said what. I’ve apologized for it and we both moved on from it.”

This year, former Montreal Expo Andre Dawson, a 2004 Canadian inductee, goes into Cooperstown as the lone player voted in. Larry Walker, enshrined in St. Marys last year, is on the next ballot. Alomar said he’d like to wear his Jays cap into Cooperstown if elected — and he’d be the first one to do it.

That and his part in the Jays’ glory days are big reasons the crowd in St. Marys this weekend could top the large turnout Walker and Ernie Whitt got last year.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with the Jays,” Alomar said. “I loved my time in Canada. My son (Robertito) is here and he always asks what is the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s good for him to see these things, to know about what it means to me to be here and to meet the Canadian people, who have always been great to me.”

Seventeen years ago, those fans flocked to the diamond to watch him as part of the best team in baseball. Now, not so much.

“I hope the fans come back to Toronto this year,” Alomar said. “They’re playing better baseball now. I’ve been to the Dome (Rogers Centre) twice this year. I don’t think it’s too old. It’s still a beautiful place. For the players, they remodelled the clubhouse and it’s a lot nicer than when I was there.”

It’s become the spacious equivalent of the SkyDome digs Alomar enjoyed during his five years of living at his home ball park.

“It wasn’t just a hotel room,” he said. “What they did for me was take three rooms with doors separating them so it would make one big (unit). I had a big-screen TV in there. A pool table, too.

“I loved living there.”

Now Alomar makes home in Tampa with wife Maria. He has his own sports clothing line, fittingly called Second 2 None.

He hit the second most-famous playoff home run off Oakland reliever Dennis Eckersley — an arms-raised-in-celebration bomb during the 1992 American League championship series that propelled the Jays to their first World Series.

“I wasn’t looking for any pitch, just something in the zone,” he said. “We were down 5-1 in the eighth inning and he was one of the best relievers in the game. You don’t expect to come back, but we did.

“It ended up being a very big home run for our club.”

Alomar, of course, played right through the gut of baseball’s Steroid Era.

“It’s a touchy subject,” he said. “When we played, nothing was illegal. I didn’t go to these guys’ houses and see them take things. To me, though, you have to prove it. If you can’t, then it’s not fair to some of these guys (accused of it).”

Alomar still enjoys watching the game. But will he help create a family Triple Crown of coaches?

His dad Sandy still works with the New York Mets and is based in Florida, instructing the young prospects. His brother Sandy Jr. is Cleveland’s first base coach.

The Jays have extended an open invitation to their former star infielder.

“I’d love to do something like that,” he said. “I’m interested in working with the Jays organization again. I’d like to put on the uniform and do something as an advisor, sharing my knowledge of the game.”

How about the big job as Blue Jays manager some day?

Cito Gaston, another Canadian Hall inductee, isn’t doing it beyond this season. But Alomar doesn’t see his old boss leaving the game anytime soon.

“That guy will never retire,” he said with a laugh.

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ryanpyette


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