When people discuss the great baseball players of all time most of them have that one defining moment that encapsulates him as a player. Carlton Fisk hitting the game 6 home run in the 1975 World Series, Kirby Puckett making a clutch catch and hitting a key home run in the 1991 World Series, or Joe Dimaggio hitting safely in 56 consecutive games are classic examples.
Unfortunately, sometimes the opposite is true. A player, no matter how great, is sometimes defined by an infamous incident. Think of how great defensive end Jim Marshall was, but all anyone ever seems to remember about him is the "wrong way" play. Ty Cobb was one of the best hitters ever but many still remember him as being a racist and sharpening his spikes to intentionally hurt shortstops when sliding into second.
Such is the case with Roberto Alomar. Despite being one of the best hitting second basemen ever to play he is most often remembered for "the spitting incident" which occurred on September 27, 1996. Stating that umpire John Hirschbeck uttered a racial slur against Alomar, the second baseman spit into Hirschbeck's face. The issue further escalated when Alomar claimed after the game that Hirschbeck was still bitter about his son dying of ALD. Subsequently Alomar and Hirschbeck reconciled and have since raised money for charity together.
Nevertheless the damage was done and I believe that is why Alomar wasn't a first ballot hall of famer last year. He was only eight votes shy last year garnering 73.7% of the vote. What a joke. The committee ought to be ashamed of themselves for not voting in Alomar on the first ballot.
Numbers don't lie when it comes to Alomar. Check it out:
--12 straight All-Star appearances
--10 Gold Gloves
--4 Silver Slugger Awards
--300 lifetime average
Additionally, Alomar rated an OBP of over 400 five times in his career and batted over 300 nine times. He was also a constant threat on the base pads throughout his career, stealing over 30 bases eight times and scoring over 100 runs 6 times. Add to that over 500 career doubles and 80 triples and you quite simply have one of the greatest hitting second basemen ever.
When you compare him to Cincinnati Red great Joe Morgan, Alomar's numbers are on par and in some instances better. Alomar has a higher lifetime batting average, more RBI, more Gold Gloves, and more doubles. Both have the same amount of World Series titles with an edge going to Morgan on the MVP awards. (Two to Alomar's none). Hell I rate Alomar better just because I haven't had to deal with him in the broadcast booth on ESPN in the last ten years.
In my opinion the verdict should already be in on this one. Alomar may have not been a class act but as a second baseman he was in a class by himself.
My Vote: An emphatic YES