Alomar confident ahead of Hall vote results

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:26 PM ET

TORONTO - With less than 24 hours to go, the first legitimate Blue Jays Hall of Famer, who wants to go into Cooperstown wearing a Jays cap, was upbeat.

“I feel confident,” Robbie Alomar said Tuesday afternoon. “but then I felt confident and comfortable a year ago too.”

Alomar missed being elected to the Hall of Fame by eight votes a year ago.

To be elected, players must be named on 75% of the ballots by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, with 10 or more years experience. In 1985, poor Nellie Fox had 74.7% of the votes. The HOF did not round off to 75%.

The results will be announced at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

“I had a good time with my family in Florida over Christmas and New Year,” Alomar said. “I was with my dad, my sister, my aunt and my little niece. They wished me all the best.

“Hopefully I can hear the good news (Wednesday).”

Alomar, who worked as a coach this fall during the Jays instructional league in Dunedin, is in Toronto and hopes to get the “good-news call” from BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O’Connell.

“I’d like to be able to dedicate this to Puerto Rican fans, my family, my former teammates over the years, the Jays organization and the fans here in Toronto, who were so good for me,” Alomar said.

Alomar is hoping to join his former general manager Pat Gillick on the stage at Cooperstown next July. Gillick dealt Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff to the San Diego Padres for slugger Joe Carter and Alomar at the Hyatt in Rosemont, Ill., at the 1990 winter meetings. Two World Series championships soon followed.

The late Bobby Mattick always said Alomar was the best second baseman he’d ever seen ... “since the 1940s.” Alomar was a 10-time Gold Glove winner, 12-time all-star and four-time Silver Slugger.

Right-hander Bert Blyleven, who fell five votes shy a year ago, should also be elected this time around. Blyleven recorded 287 career wins and 60 shutouts, 3,701 strikeouts and a 3.31 ERA.

And both should make it as A) they deserve it and B) everyone who attained 65% of the vote earned entry the next season.

Larry Walker of Maple Ridge, B.C., Canada’s greatest hitter ever, is on the ballot but faces stiff odds. Walker won three batting titles and an MVP but many voters hold it against him that he had success in Denver’s light air with the Colorado Rockies. Walker was a complete player and for a time the best in the game, whether it be throwing, running, hitting for power or average or fielding.

Walker doesn’t have 500 homers or 3,000 hits, finishing with 383 homers and 2,160 hits.

From 1994 to 2002, Walker hit .339, and only Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn had a higher average. Walker averaged 31 homers a season, which is more than HOFers Andre Dawson and Jim Rice.

His career .565 slugging percentage ranks 14th all-time, ahead of Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. With a .965 career OPS, he’s 16th on all-time ahead of Mel Ott, Ty Cobb and Mays.

We thought with more and more sluggers having their numbers damaged by steroid allegations when Walker was never so much of accused of taking a vitamin, his stature would grow. Yet, we have not seen it. So, Walker likely will come in at around 15%.

The process wasn’t easy this year, it wasn’t easy 10 years ago and it’s only going to get more difficult with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens on the horizon.

The knock against writers is how can a vote total changes when nary an extra RBI or strikeout was added to a hitter or pitcher’s totals. Blyleven had the benefit of blogger Rich Lederer educating/lobbying voters.

Some writers stick with their own voting-for-only-one-candidate policy.

We’ve always thought if you were a HOFer, you were Year 1, until you’re in or off the ballot.

So, this time around we voted, as always, for Jack Morris, Tim Raines, Dale Murphy, Alomar, Blyleven, McGriff and Walker.


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