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Roberto Alomar announced his retirement today.

Although the Associated Press story oddly doesn't mention it, Alomar was a driving force behind two World Champion teams, the 1992 and 1993 Blue Jays.

He retires a ten-time Gold Glove winner, a twelve-time All-Star, a .300 career hitter, 50th all-time with 2724 hits, 40th all-time with 504 doubles, and 40th all-time with 474 stolen bases.

But damn the numbers. No one who ever watched him in a Blue Jays uniform will ever forget his incredible talents. With the bat, on the basepaths, and especially with his glove, Roberto Alomar was electric in a way that few players in history have been.

Please share your memories of Roberto Alomar in this thread.

Gone But Not Forgotten : Roberto Alomar Retires | 36 comments | Create New Account
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Jordan - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 03:28 PM EST (#106713) #
I'll repost what I said in an earlier thread.

More than a few Jays fans liked to rip Alomar, citing his free-agency departure, his sitting-out-to-reach-.300, and of course, The Spit. None of these are reasons for long-term vilification: Alomar and Hirschbeck buried that hatchet and Robbie donated a lot of money to Hirschbeck's charity for his child, and if Hirschbeck can let it go, so should the fans. This team's followers have a bad habit of turning on their fallen heroes -- hello, Kelly Gruber -- and it's not attractive.

Alomar is a lock for the Hall of Fame, and deservedly so. Maybe his spectacular plays oversold his defensive abilities a little, but you don't win 10 Gold Gloves by accident. He was a 12-time All-Star and finished in the top ten of MVP voting 5 times -- a remarkable achievement for a middle infielder. He had power, he had speed, and he was one of the smartest players I've seen on a diamond. Who's been a better second baseman from 1980 to 2000? Craig Biggio? He'll walk into Cooperstown five years after he retires. There's nobody else.

Blue Jays fans should fondly remember Alomar just for the homer off Eckersley alone -- with all due respect to Joe Carter and Ed Sprague, that was the most important hit in franchise history. That he did so much more for the team and the city should make us all grateful he played for our favourite club and sad that his career could be ending so poorly.
John Northey - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 03:32 PM EST (#106715) #
Figured, just posted this in another thread then noticed this thread starting up...

I wonder if Alomar has ever had laser eye surgery. I know of people who had their eyes screwed up for years because of it (Ian Leggatt, the golfer from Cambridge, ON, is a good example - he had to have them redo it at least 2 or 3 times), along with others who loved it. Alomar might just need glasses but refuses to consider it, or he might (hopefully not) have the same problem Kirby Puckett had where he lost his eyesite.

Alomar was a guy I was hoping the Jays would trade for in 1990 and then was everything I hoped he'd be once Gillick pulled the trigger (still have the newspaper from the day of the trade). Funny that Alomar and McGriff will be on the same Hall ballot if no one give McGriff a shot at 500. Shame that the Jays, in 1994 & 1995 under Gord Ash, decided to wait and see with Alomar rather than resign right away (iirc Ash said he thought salaries would go down thanks to any agreement after the strike - dang he could be dumb at times). Who knows, back in 1998 (282/347/418) he might have pushed the Jays over the top (4 games behind Boston for wild card, Grebeck (256/327/346) & Fernandez (321/387/459) were the starters at second, with Alomar Fernandez would've been at 3B rather than Ed Sprague (238/301/424) in the first half). Also might have prevented the Clemens for Wells/Bush/etc trade in the 98/99 offseason, leading to Clemens being a Jay when he goes into the HOF :)

Yes, I do enjoy dreaming.
Magpie - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 03:45 PM EST (#106718) #
But damn the numbers.

Indeed. And his numbers are sensational. So are Paul Molitor's and so are Jackie Robinson's. But no, they don't tell the whole story. Like them, he was even better than his numbers suggested...

My first vivid memory is when I heard about the trade in the first place. I was jumping up and down and telling all my friends: "We got Roberto Alomar! We got Roberto Alomar!" I was giddy with joy, even though I absolutely hated losing McGriff (but I saw the logic - Olerud was there, Bell was leaving, an outfielder was needed.)

Even so, it was exactly like Molitor - as good as I expected him to be, I had no idea he was going to be that good when he got here. One especially remembers his intelligence on the field - he saw possibilities out there that other players didn't even dream of, and that he had the skills to take advantage of. It was just wonderful to watch him apply all his tools to the game: his legs, his arm, his bat, and his mind.

Alomar was part of the exodus out of here at the end of 1995 - he and Devon White and Al Leiter. The team that gave up and went 7-22 in September. I do remember Alomar felt very strongly at the time that the organization quit on the players in 1995. Instead of trying to improve the team, they pulled the plug and traded David Cone to a divisional rival. A lousy way for it to end, but most baseball endings are... not attractive.

Nolan - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 04:20 PM EST (#106724) #
One of my favourite memories of Alomar is from the '93 World Series.

I can't remember which game this took place in, but it was with the Jays on the field and the Phillies batting. The batter hit a soft line drive/looper toward first base. Olerud ran back a couple yards and leaped up trying to snag the ball which was still a good four feet over his glove. With Olerud unable to grab the ball, I figured that is was a basehit for sure. Until I saw player number two enter the screen in a horizontal leap toward the ball. Alomar managed to grab the ball- his body ended up at the first base foul line. I culdn't believe how far he'd run to get to it.

I was 10 at the time and thought Alomar was superman after that.
scimo - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 05:26 PM EST (#106728) #
I remember every play that you guys have mentioned. It bugs me when someone tries to question his defensive reputation. I watched majority of the jays games on TV in the early 90's and i still remember his defensive plays like having them playing on a vcr. Defensive statistics only tells a tiny portion of the story. Watching Alomar playing on the field and getting clutch hits after clutch hits was such an enjoyment for me. He's the biggest reason I am still a baseball fan. I am sad to see him leaving the game this way, maybe the bumps and bruises playing on the artificial turf has caught up to him.
Willy - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 06:04 PM EST (#106731) #
The fielding moments are almost too numerous to relate; but there were many, many similar moments at the plate. The guy could hit. I agree that the homer in Oakland off Eckersley is the best. For some reason, though, I've always also remembered a mid-summer game against the White Sox in which Alomar hit a homer from both sides of the plate--with seeming ease and inevitability. What the man had done was remarkable, but we seemed to expect that of him. And he responded with unreasonable regularity.

And I'm with Magpie 100% about his intelligence and his baseball 'instincts'--same with Molitor. It was so great to watch those two on the basepaths, always getting more than anyone thought they'd even contemplate getting. Sheesh, just writing about some of the times I watched Robby on the ballfield makes me happy. A great player.
costanza - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 06:40 PM EST (#106732) #
Like others, I still remember hearing about THE TRADE, coming as it did the year of Bill James' "Get Roberto Alomar" comment. It was funny, though, because I heard about it first mentioned by a Q107 DJ who, not being a baseball guy, talked about the Jays trading Fernandez and McGriff for Joe Carter and "another player". Man, was I steamed hearing about that!!! (Hearing who the "other player" was made things better. :)

My favourite on-field memories (the '93 World Series catch, the HR off Eck) have been mentioned, though one other moment that does stand out was his return to Skydome as an Oriole. I was a bit bothered by the surprising amount of boo-ing (the cheering did eventually win out), and that was even before the Hirshbeck incident.

That said, is it wrong to point out the one thing that I couldn't help but notice about his career? He seemed to be the kind of player who could raise his game when it mattered most (e.g. his stellar playoff performances). But, he also did seem to "slack off" a bit in nothing games/seasons. His worst seasons all came in years where his teams (Toronto, Baltimore, and the Mets) "under-performed".
Mylegacy - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 06:41 PM EST (#106733) #
I agree with everyone, and...

EVERY time the ball was hit between first and second I immediately thought, "that's an out." When a ball got through or a pop up fell in I had a hard time believing it.

With the bat, the glove, the feet, the eyes and the smile he was the greatest Jay.

Robbie, I miss ya!
Jobu - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 06:58 PM EST (#106734) #
Every generation has that one "guy" who was the "guy" when they were growing up. When I was growing up (not that I'm done) kids would immitate or mention "the guy" even if they had no idea who he really was, they just knew he was "the guy". Like the childhood instinct of my generation (or maybe just neighbourhood) to shout "RANFORD!" after a sweet road hockey glove save, when playing ball or catch, everytime you jumped and threw without looking (usually over everyone's head) you still shouted "OHHHH ALOMAR!!" as you were making the pivot. Robbie ment that much to the city, he was a part of it, and he became a part of my local culture. My 22 year old friend still has an Alomar poster up in his room he hasn't "gotten around" to taking down yet, and I think he's not the only one my age. That's the biggest compliment I can think of paying Robbie. Can't wait to see the first Blue Jay cap in The Hall in 5 years.
grimsbypaul - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 07:43 PM EST (#106736) #
Robbie gets my vote for the greatest Blue Jay ever. 5 tools and best clutch hitter for the Jays. I have to echo Jordan and other's comments about his 1992 game 4 home run off Eckerley being the biggest hit in Blue Jay history. It changed so many things: the game (they were down 6-1,), the series, the feeling that Eckerley and the A's were unbeatable (after the 1989 series where they were owned by Eck, Ricky and the A's), and feeling that it was always the other team that got the big hit it in the playoffs (starting with Jim Sundberg in 1985).
RhyZa - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 08:09 PM EST (#106737) #
Is there anywhere online with Robbie highlights?

Would be nice to be able to go back to the future and be amazed like never before and probably never again in baseball.

"Catch The Taste"
Shrike - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 08:29 PM EST (#106738) #
Roberto Alomar is, apologies to Carlos Delgado, Jesse Barfield, Tony Fernandez and John Olerud amongst many notable Blue Jays hitters through the years, the favourite position player that I ever watched play for Toronto.
VBF - Saturday, March 19 2005 @ 11:17 PM EST (#106741) #
I'd love to have Robbie in the Hall sometime soon. I would imagine that he'll be part of the Level of Excellence, but unfortunately I have this picture in my mind of some Toronto fans booing it when they unveil his name :(
Dave Till - Sunday, March 20 2005 @ 06:55 AM EST (#106746) #
I still remember when I first saw Alomar playing second base. It was a spring training game, and a batter hit a slow roller to second. Alomar charged the ball, barehanded it, and then, without straightening up, threw a laser shot to first to get the runner. Buck Martinez commented, "You'd better get used to that, folks."

If he goes into the Hall (and he should), will he decide to go in as a Blue Jay?
CeeBee - Sunday, March 20 2005 @ 07:27 AM EST (#106747) #
There are some great 2nd basemen in the hall of fame, Hornsby, Gehringer, Lajoie, Mazeroski..... ooops.... well if Maz is there how can Robby not be there in 5 years?
Mark - Sunday, March 20 2005 @ 08:19 AM EST (#106750) #
My favourite memory of Alomar comes from the 92 series, It was in the skydome, game 3, bottom of the 9th, tie game, Jeff Reardon pitching to Candy Maldonato, bases loaded, Alomar at third. Candy rips a single and Alomar trots home easily to score the winning run. He did it with a cocky grim, doing the tomohawk chop the whole way to the plate. After that, for some reason there was no doubt in my mind we where going to win our first World Series. I know it was not a brlliant play, or clutch hit, but it just really had an impression on me.
Skywalker - Sunday, March 20 2005 @ 11:06 AM EST (#106753) #
Oh man.. that was such a great moment. I actually remember robbie doing the tomohawk chop while he was still on 3rd base before Reardon had thrown to candy. And then the whole stadium started doin it. good times.
Keith Talent - Sunday, March 20 2005 @ 11:43 AM EST (#106756) #
Just finished the Jose Canseco book, and in his chapter on umpires he mentions the Hirschbeck/Alomar incident: "I'll just say this: There was a lot more to that confrontation than people know."

Any idea on what's he's getting at here?
Cristian - Sunday, March 20 2005 @ 12:24 PM EST (#106757) #
I've heard that as well and no one ever explains the entire context of the incident. Most of the time, I hear something very similar to what Jose Canseco's ghost writer wrote. Was the Alomar/Hirschbeck incident so horrible that no one can explain 'the rest of the story' to those of us not in the know?
Magpie - Sunday, March 20 2005 @ 12:39 PM EST (#106758) #
There was a lot more to that confrontation than people know.

The story I had always heard (generally reported by players within earshot - the catcher and the on-deck hitter) was that Hirschbeck called Alomar a 12 letter word that implied that Robbie had been having carnal relations with his own mother. At which point, Alomar spit in his face.

Hirschbeck drove hitters crazy, all of them, because - he was frank about this - he didn't think much of the strike zone as defined in the rule book and preferred to substitute his own, much larger, version.

That said, Alomar's suspension of five games to be served in the following season was bizarre. Pete Rose got 30 games for shoving an umpire.

Of course, Babe Ruth got off with a $100 fine after punching an umpire in the face...

Keith Talent - Sunday, March 20 2005 @ 12:51 PM EST (#106761) #

something very similar to what Jose Canseco's ghost writer wrote

Did you know that Canseco's ghost writer is Steve Kettmann, author of "One Day at Fenway"?

Ryan B. - Sunday, March 20 2005 @ 01:09 PM EST (#106764) #
This is what I think of Robby.

He is a hall of famer with out a doubt. Along with that he has to be inducted as a Blue Jay. He didn't do anything special in Baltimore or Cleveland. In Toronto he won two World Championships and helped really put this team over the top as a main attraction in Toronto in the early 90's. If he isn't a Blue Jay on the day of his induction I will be sick!
Nolan - Sunday, March 20 2005 @ 01:37 PM EST (#106771) #
"If he goes into the Hall (and he should), will he decide to go in as a Blue Jay?"

I don't believe that he has that choice to make as the HoF makes the pick for him. In the same way Clemens can't choose to go into the Hall as a Yank, it will be decided for him.
Mick Doherty - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 01:34 PM EST (#106872) # Page 2 Quickie comment:

"Roberto Alomar retires: He's a lock Hall of Famer, perhaps the best all-around 2B in baseball history."

Really? I'm with that up through the comma, but the part after "perhaps" -- I don't think you can make that argument.
Mike Green - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 01:50 PM EST (#106877) #
Amen, Mick. A Hall of Famer, yes. A better all-around second-baseman than Joe Morgan, not even close.

I respect Robbie's decision to quit now. There is nothing more painful than watching a formerly great ballplayer performing badly in an effort to reach some statistical milestone, and thereby hurting his team.
costanza - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 02:14 PM EST (#106881) #
I respect Robbie's decision to quit now. There is nothing more painful than watching a formerly great ballplayer performing badly in an effort to reach some statistical milestone

The irony is that keeping a statistical milestone (a .300 career batting average -- certainly nothing to scoff at) may have been part of the reason he made the decision

Mike Green - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 02:25 PM EST (#106888) #
Maybe, but I thought it was an honest reaction to the spring debacle.

Hitting .300 for a career does not have the cachet of 3,000 hits.
costanza - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 02:56 PM EST (#106906) #
Sure, I would guess that statistical considerations didn't play a huge factor, either way.

I suspect that most veterans who keep playing as long as they can (Rickey, for instance) do it out of a love for the game, and very few do it for statistical reasons.

(Also, Robbie's horrible stint in Chicago, and the ego-crushing lack of interest in his services in the off-season probably had much more to do with the decision than did five spring training games)
Mick Doherty - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 03:50 PM EST (#106953) #
Hitting .300 for a career does not have the cachet of 3,000 hits.

Paging Mr. Kaline ... Al Kaline, you have a call on line .297, extension 3007.

costanza - Monday, March 21 2005 @ 04:17 PM EST (#106980) #
Paging Mr. Kaline ... Al Kaline, you have a call on line .297, extension 3007

Cute, but Kaline began 1973 as a 38-year old, with a .301 average, needing 218 hits to get to 3000. Of course, though he only had 278 ABs in '72, his OPS+ was 149 (145 as a full-timer the previous year). After 1973, he was down to .299, and he barely made it to 3000

Realistically, what were Robbie's chances of getting to 3000? At 37, he needed 276 hits and had 157, 133, and 45 in his last three years. He hadn't hit well in three years, and would likely need to play at least three more to get to 3000. After taking a 88% paycut and losing his job last year, finding work only in TBay, he'd have to think that he'd have a hard time keeping a job for that long, unless he turned things around.

I'd give him very little chance of reaching 3000 hits -- even without factoring in the back problems -- and basically no chance of keeping his .300 average.

robertdudek - Tuesday, March 22 2005 @ 12:40 AM EST (#107068) #
I would put the Alomar homerun off Eckersley on par with Gibson's homerun off Eck 4 years earlier. I think they had comparable impact in regard to determining the World Championship. It's really a shame that the baseball universe as a whole does not revere Alomar's homerun the way it does Gibson's.
robertdudek - Tuesday, March 22 2005 @ 12:52 AM EST (#107071) #
No one is close to Joe Morgan as a second baseman.

As great as Robbie and Biggio were, they were not within spitting distance of Joe. That's how good he was.

costanza - Tuesday, March 22 2005 @ 12:11 PM EST (#107104) #
I would put the Alomar homerun off Eckersley on par with Gibson's homerun off Eck 4 years earlier. I think they had comparable impact in regard to determining the World Championship.

Seriously? If Sprague doesn't hit the HR off Reardon, the Jays go on to lose the series, and Alomar's HR becomes no more important to determining the WS winner than Brett's HR off Gossage.

(Actually, I think the Brett HR was quite comparable -- yes, the Royals were leading the series, but everyone "knew" that the Yankees were going to win again... Brett's HR changed all that)

Hartley - Tuesday, March 22 2005 @ 02:02 PM EST (#107115) #
With the retirement of Roberto Alomar announced this past weekend. I have a question what Blue Jays players from the World Series teams are still playing ?
costanza - Tuesday, March 22 2005 @ 03:27 PM EST (#107120) #
With the retirement of Roberto Alomar announced this past weekend. I have a question what Blue Jays players from the World Series teams are still playing ?

Check out this great article from Magpie about this exact subject.

This is an example why I'm not totally "sold" on the idea of doing things other than reporting on Games in the Game Reports. If I'd gone away for a couple weeks, I probably wouldn't have read Magpie's article because it was a Game Report, rather than being tagged as something else. And I would've really missed out.

Just a thought.

Donkit R.K. - Tuesday, March 22 2005 @ 05:13 PM EST (#107140) #
If I'm not mistaken, Robbie put up wondeful rate numbers in about 100 AB with Arizona last year. Why is this never mentioned? If he stayed with 'Zona, could he have kept up thos numbers over 250 AB +? As an aside : he had a re-breakout season for me platooning at 2B for the Jays in MVP Baseball 2004 - an ok number of walks, 20ish triples and 60ish doubles. It seemed like I couldn't hit homers or singles with Robbie, just lots and lots of double and triples (which isn't such a bad thing).
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