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September 16, 2007

Sure, he's in...but what cap would he wear?

Dear Readers…truth or dare?

Dare you say?

Fair enough. I want you to go outside RIGHT NOW and ask the first person you see who the BEST second baseman was over the last quarter century. And when they answer “Ryne Sandberg”…punch them in the face.

Why? They’re lying to you.

Unquestionably, Ryno was good. But he isn’t the BEST to play the position this side of 1980. I know, I know…Sandberg was the MVP in 1984. He once had the most home runs by a second baseman and nabbed nine straight Gold Gloves.

He was pretty good.

Roberto Alomar was better. Hands down.

Matter of fact, he might be the best modern day second baseman...even though Joe Morgan would tell you otherwise. Some people might even go on to tell you that Alomar wasn’t ever the best player on the field for any of the seven teams he played for. Much like Morgan, I’d tell you that neither were Craig Biggio and Jeff Kent and they’re both Hall of Fame caliber middle infielders. And yes...THAT Jeff Kent.

Let’s break this down…plain and simple.

The case for Alomar is an easy one…even easier when compared to the most recent Hall inductee at second base, Ryne Sandberg.

Here ya go:

  • Alomar went to twelve straight All-Star games (nine as a starter), compared to Ryno’s ten.
    Ten Gold Gloves over a span of eleven years is the most ever by a second baseman.
  • His .984 fielding percentage is a hair behind Sandberg’s .989.
  • His 2724 hits (and career .300 batting average) is the most by any EVERY DAY second baseman since Charlie Gehringer’s 2839. Gehringer was inducted in 1949. FYI…Sandberg finished with 2386 and a .285 batting average.
  • Even, Alomar’s OPS+ (a stat that I am not THAT high on, but some people are) of 116 is smack dab in the middle of the pack when you look at those already enshrined. For the record, Sandberg’s was 114. Joe Morgan...a surprising 132.
  • Alomar even slugged .347 in back to back World Series victories for the Blue Jays

And yes, for every “case for”…there is a case against:

  • Alomar lacks an identity. His longest stint with any team was five years with the Blue Jays.

  • As mentioned, Alomar was overshadowed on nearly every team he played for (Tony Gwynn in San Diego, Joe Carter in Toronto, Cal Ripken in Baltimore, Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez in Cleveland).

  • When he is eligible in 2010, he’ll likely be up against Tim Raines, Barry Larkin, Fred McGriff and Edgar Martinez. Granted, they’re not ALL Hall of Famers…but they’ll garner some attention and steal (pun intended in Raines' case) some votes.

  • And, unfortunately, the spitting incident with umpire John Hirshbeck.

Alomar was the type of player that, because he was so damn solid for nearly 17 seasons…people FORGET that he was a hitting machine. From his second year in the majors (1989) until 2001, Alomar hit UNDER .295 only twice. He even had an impressive run of nine out of ten years where he hit .300 or better.

Open your doors for Robbie, Cooperstown, I’ll be watching...all the while knowing that the best second baseman I ever saw play is getting his just desserts.

Ballhype: hype it up!


E said...

If you put Sandberg in, you have to put Alomar in, as he's statistically on the same plane. Hell, you let Sandberg in, you could make a pretty decent argument for Lou Whitaker (and I'm only half joking about that.

Jesus said...

Sandberg got in, if you recall, because he was the "best second baseman of the 80s". And like you said...if he gets in, shouldn't the "best second baseman of the 90s" get in?

1678 hits...a .308 batting average. Eight Gold Gloves and an appearance in EVERY All-Star game.

Not too bad!

Anonymous said...

I think Alomar should go in. The biggest problem with Robbie (and an odd one) is that his career mysteriously tanked after a magnificent, MVP-worthy 2001 season. If he had at least put up more lines of .300, 13 HR, 20+ SB, he'd be a no-brainer.

Instead, he never hits .300 (or even .280) again.

Robbie has great comps:

Larkin, Whitaker, Frisch, Julio Franco, Sandberg, Trammell, Morgan, Biggio, Ted Simmons, Gehringer.

Frisch, Ryno, Morgan, and Gehringer are all HOFers. Biggio will be one. You could make a very good argument for Larkin and Trammell and even Whitaker. I think he'd go in as a Blue Jay because he played there the longest and won the championships there, although his numbers with Baltimore and Cleveland are better (at times).

Jesus said...

My skin crawls every time I hear Whitaker and Trammell in conjunction with the Hall of Fame. They're right up there in the Dave Concepcion class.

They were good...but never THE guy at their position. Sure, Whitaker played second fiddle to Sandberg and Trammell was overshadowed by Robin Yount and Cal Ripken...but still.

Julio Franco is interesting (and your not the first to bring him to my attention)...but last time I checked, Minnie Minoso isn't in the Hall for being 60 years old and lacing them up! Haha.

Anonymous said...

I don't particularly feel agonized that Lou and Tram aren't in the Hall, but you can do a lot worse. Lou was the AL's best second baseman during the '80s. Tram wasn't the best shortstop, but that was because of Yount and Ripken. Put him in the NL and he's the best shortstop unless one is extremely generous in estimating Ozzie Smith's offense.