Grand day for Alomar

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:58 PM ET

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- The term "Hall of Fame" family is tossed around annually at this time of the season.

As in the "Hall of Fame family" ... is happy to welcome newcomers Robbie Alomar, Pat Gillick and Bert Blyleven.

In the case of Alomar it was obvious he already had a loving family.

"People ask me who was the best second baseman I ever saw," Alomar said in his Sunday's induction speech. "Joe Morgan and Ryne Sandberg, both great players, are here on the stage. I watched my father play every day. He was the best, the greatest."

Alomar thanked his sister Sandia.

"My sister is the best, she would never phone if I went 4-for-4," Alomar said. "I'd go 0-for-4 and she would call and say: 'Hey what's going on with you?' "

And his mother, Maria, in what was the most emotional moment of the day.

"My mom gave me love, if I'm standing here today it's because of you," Alomar spoke slow and deliberate, when earlier he had rushed through parts of his speech.

As he spoke the cameras moved between Alomar at the podium and his mother Maria crying uncontrollably.

Then, Maria would stop, flash a happy smile, a smile of a mother's love and then return to crying again.

After the ceremony Maria explained "that's my baby, I am so proud."

And Maria cried again.

Before Alomar was handed the mic, a video interview was shown of his brother Sandy, Jr.

Sandy told of the two playing with the 1987 double-A Wichita Pilots in the San Diego Padres system.

"We didn't have enough money to afford two beds, so we made a bet," said Sandy, interviewed for the Jays managerial job before Alex Anthopoulous settled on John Farrell.

"Whoever had the most hits got the bed -- I spent the whole season on the couch."

Well, maybe. Robbie, 19, hit .319 with 171 hits in 130 games, while Sandy, 21, batted .307 with 115 hits in 103 games.

"Sandy you didn't tell the people, you made me do the laundry," said Robbie to laughter.

Then the younger brother turned serious.

"I lived a dream getting to play on the same team with my brother in Cleveland, Sandy Alomar, Jr.," he said staring at his brother. "We didn't win a World Series, but this award we share ... for in my eyes you were a Hall of Famer."

Alomar also thanked Toronto fans and his former manager Cito Gaston receiving cheers.

"My time in Toronto was the best of my career, we won two World Series together," Alomar said to applause from Jays fans and "Robbie! Robbie! chants.

"I want to say a special thanks to Cito Gaston, Cito I know you are watching, thank you for teaching me how to be a professional I have so much respect for you as a manager. Thank you, Cito."

Gaston had back surgery this spring and was in Toronto, his back not back in shape for a six-hour car ride.

The second baseman also thanked Jays president Paul Beeston.

"Jays fans I am so proud to represent you as the first Blue Jay in the Hall of Fame, you fans are an extension of my own family," said Alomar to more cheers. "I'm not here today because of the way I played but because of the fan support. Without fans the game would not be fun."

Alomar thanked his coaches trainers and teammates over the years with the Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Orioles, Jays and Padres.

"I'm proud to represent my country of Puerto Rico and proud to represent Canada," Alomar told 250 people, mostly current or former Jays employees, Sunday morn at a Blue Jays reception.

Scheduled for outdoors on Fenimore Art Museum deck, Jays vice-president Howard Starkman had to scamper to move the event across the highway indoors to the Farmer's Museum.

Later at a news conference Alomar told reporters: "My heart is half Puerto Rican and half Canadian."

And next Sunday the Jays will retire his uniform No. 12.

The love-in continues.


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