Hallspotting will look at candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame leading up to the 2010 election. The candidates will range from serious to semi-serious, and even if they don’t stand a chance, at least it’s a swell opportunity to remember any indelible marks their career may have made.
Like Jim Rice used to be, and Bert Blyleven still is, Roberto Alomar could be that generational tug-of-war player. I say this because Alomar was the best second baseman of his generation. But how Hallworthy is that moniker? Had he been a shortstop, Chuck Knoblauch would have been the greatest second baseman of Alomar’s generation.
It’s with this sentiment I bring up Alomar’s 10 Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. Not many players can brag about winning four of each of these moderately suspect honors, but it’s a tremendous group. A shorter list contains people who won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger in the same season four times. Here’s who swept the Gold ‘n Silver more than four times since 1980, when the Silver Slugger was introduced:
Ken Griffey, Jr.
All of those guys are either in the Hall or will belong someday, PED forgiveness permitting. Sandberg was somewhat of a borderline entrant, and he was the greatest second baseman of his generation.
Now, for the people with four such seasons:
Well, if it isn’t the Borderline Boys. Dawson is creeping ever so close toward the magical 75 percent mark, while Murphy, in his 11th year on the ballot, is losing support.
Alomar’s resume as a ballplayer, not a second baseman, is between 5 and 75 percent too. He was on two championship teams with the Blue Jays and enjoyed two MVP-like seasons for the Cleveland Indians. His 2,724 career hits are good enough for a career .300 batting average, and his 474 stolen bases add an element of speed to his game.
But the memories of Alomar aren’t exactly something you’d want to put on a plaque. He doesn’t have a reputation of being a great teammate, or one of being a guy who didn’t spit in an umpire’s face. In a 17-year career he wore out his welcome everywhere except for five years in Toronto (those Canadians are mighty hospitable, don’tcha know). Basically the likability quotient isn’t helping him.
I could wrestle for months on Alomar’s credentials, but fortunately I don’t have a vote so I won’t worry about it. The hunch says “no,” but the all-time roster from the ’90s seems incomplete without him.