At 2 p.m. ET on the MLB Network this afternoon, the announcement came that two former major leaguers would be inducted to the coveted Baseball Hall of Fame institution in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24, 20111.
After 14 years of not getting voted in with the 75% threshold required, former Minnesota Twins and California Angels righthander Bert Blyleven got 79.7% of the votes from the over 500 credentialed writers in the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). Last year, he fell just short at 74%.
Roberto Alomar, the second baseman famed for his wizardry with the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays, amongst other teams, got in with 90% of the vote in only his second year of eligibility. Many baseball insiders were stunned the lifetime .300 hitter, 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner didn’t get into the Hall last year.
For Blyleven, longevity paid off on and off the field. He spent 22 seasons in the majors, winning two World Series rings with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979 and the Twins in 1987. He has 287 wins to his name, is fifth all-time in strikeouts with 3,701 and has a career 3.31 ERA, along with a whopping 242 complete games. In addition, he earned a 5-1 record and a 2.47 ERA lifetime in the postseason. Another notable feat is that he had an ERA under 3.00 in eight different seasons.
While it took unusually long for voters to vote Blyleven in, Alomar barely missed the cut in 2010 at 73.7%, in part due to the “spitting incident” at an umpire (John Hirschbeck) that soured his reputation for a time. The two-time World Series champ (with the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993) and his on-field accomplishments are now permanently enshrined in Cooperstown.
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