All Time Roster: Roberto Alomar

Alomar awaits a pitch

Roberto Alomar used to dazzle us with his bat and his glove. He was loved. To some, he is now hated. However you feel about him personally, Roberto Alomar easily ranks in as the best Blue Jay to ever play the position of second base. He has many awards to his name, and two World Series rings. It's hard to argue with this JaysTalk.com selection.

Some families are just destined for fame. If your last name happens to be Alomar, you've got a better chance than most to break into the world of Major League Baseball. Sandy Alomar and Sandy Alomar Jr. have both enjoyed long and prosperous careers in the Majors, but niether of them have come with quite the fame-factor as Roberto. The San Diego Padres signed the Ponce, Puerto Rico native as a free agent after he went un-drafted in the 1985 amateur draft. The move paid almost instant dividends for the club, as Alomar quickly burst onto the scene in 1988. As a 20-year-old entering Major League competition for the first time, many would expect a short stay in the Majors, followed by bouncing around from the minors to the Majors, and so forth. Such was not the case with Mr. Alomar.

In his first full campaign, Alomar hit a solid .260 with the Padres, and swiped 23 bases. It was a sign of things to come. In 1991, Roberto's career would take a drastic change. That change would have him winding up all the way across North America as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. At the time, being sent to play for the Canadian team was like a prize. They had the nicest stadium. They had a great team. They were a player's dream. In the winter GM meetings, Toronto GM Pat Gillick worked out what is arguably the biggest trade in franchise history. He acquired outfielder Joe Carter along with Alomar, for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez. Alomar became an instant fan favourite in his new hometown. Gold Glove winner could be added to Alomar's title in 1991, as he was named the best second baseman in the American circuit. Oh yeah, let's not forget all he did in the playoffs was hit .474 in the Jays five game series against the Minnesota Twins in the ALCS.

Fast forward to 1992. Roberto Alomar is spoiled as the 24 year old gets a taste of World Series action at such a young age. The Jays' second bagger played a pivotal role in their triumph over the NL's Atlanta Braves, bringing the World Series to Canada for the first time in Major League history. Alomar struggled at the plate, hitting .208 in the Series, but was a force to be reckoned with on the base paths. He stole four bases in just six games. Also, his defence as always was second to none. In fact, in July of 1995, Alomar shattered the American League record of games played without an error for second basemen. The previous mark was 90; Alomar stretched it to 104. In that season he made just four errors on 640 chances.

Sadly, all happy stories do not finish with happy endings. While Alomar seemingly enjoyed his time in Toronto as a fan favourite, it appeared as though it was not to be. In 1996, Alomar started to grumble about the city of Toronto, saying a female stalker was threatening his life. He sat out the last nine games of the season, demanding a trade. Many felt he was protecting his personal statistics. Finally prior to the '97 season, Alomar signed on with the division rivals from Baltimore. In Alomar's first game back at SkyDome, he was involved in an argument with home plate umpire Ken Hirschbeck and wound up spitting in the umpire's face. It was an infamous moment, and Alomar to this day has not lived it down.

Every time the once-loved Roberto Alomar returns to Toronto, he has and will continue to receive a treatment of cheers and jeers from the fans. Perhaps the booing is deserved, but Alomar still ranks as the greatest second baseman to ever suit up for the Toronto Blue Jays. The numbers support it and the highlight reels support it. Alomar is still playing today. He has made stops in Baltimore, Cleveland, New York as a member of the Mets, Chicago as a White Sox, back to the Mets, and has now signed a contract to play for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Those same Diamondbacks visit SkyDome June 11,12, and 13th in a rare inter-league match-up. Get your tickets now, for it very well might be your last chance to see Robby Alomar in action, love him or hate him.



Stefan@JaysTalk.com

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