Alomar's moment to regret

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:18 AM ET

If he could have one moment back from his Hall of Fame career, one do-over, there’s no doubt in Robbie Alomar’s mind.

Sept. 27, 199z6. Alomar was a Baltimore Oriole, playing a game in Toronto. Umpire John Hirschbeck rang up Alomar on a borderline pitch and Alomar took exception.

Words were exchanged and at one point, Alomar spat in the umpire’s face.

Later, after the game, Alomar suggested to reporters that Hirschbeck had never been the same since the death of his son, caused by a rare disease called adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD).

When he learned of those remarks, Hirschbeck had to be restrained from confronting Alomar.

Mortified

Alomar has never done anything like that, before or since and was mortified at his own actions. He was suspended for five days and required to pay $50,000 US to an ALD research fund.

Over time, he reached out to Hirschbeck, apologized and eventually became friends, even helping with ALD fundraising. But the incident still haunts him.

“As human beings, we make mistakes,” Alomar said Wednesday.

“We have to recognize when we make a mistake. The only thing we can do is apologize and try to make yourself into a better person.

“I got the chance to meet John, to meet with his family and we became real good friends.

“At the same time, we stuck together and we raised some money to cure the disease that caused his son to pass away.”

The furor probably caused Alomar to miss out on becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer last year in his first year of eligibility.

He fell just eight votes short. This year, he received 126 more votes than a year ago.

“Maybe they wanted me to wait one more year because of the incident,” he said. “I don’t know. I’m just glad it happened this year.

“Last year is over. I can only say it’s an honour.”

ken.fidlin@sunmedia.ca


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