This coming Sunday, Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. With this heat wave that we have going on, I feel sorry for them having to stand there while wearing a suit and reading a speech in front of thousands of people outside in the heat. But if I was being inducted into the Hall, I guess I could deal with the heat for a few minutes. Alomar becomes the third Puerto Rican (and second one named "Roberto") to go into the Hall, joining Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda. Blyleven becomes the first player born in the Netherlands to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Both players are very deserving, and both have a big presence in my baseball card collection.
Roberto Alomar will be going in as a Blue Jay, though I liked him best when he played for the Cleveland Indians. He had a career batting average of .300, won 10 Gold Gloves as a second-baseman, and was selected to the All-Star Game 12 times in his 15-year career. But because he spit at an umpire once, he was not selected in his first year of eligibility. I know; spitting at an umpire is wrong - but you can't blame the guy for being passionate and dedicated. There were all kinds of rumors going on for a while in Puerto Rico saying that Alomar was HIV positive and did not disclose this to his girlfriend, but the rumors disappeared and Alomar is now a national hero. I must say he's been the best second-baseman I've seen in my years as a baseball fan, and I'm very proud of my fellow countryman's induction (the next Puerto Rican elected into the Hall will undoubtedly be "Pudge," and I will surely be in Cooperstown for that one!).
Bert Blyleven threw 242 complete games (including 60 shutouts), a feat that nowadays seems impossible (except for maybe Roy Halliday). Despite his long and successful career, it took 14 tries for Blyleven to be selected by the baseball writers who vote for the inductees. Talk about having to wait and wait! Poor guy! But I agree that he deserves to be there - I always liked watching him pitch and I enjoyed him as an analyst for the Twins. (You think my little blog will someday get me a membership into the Baseball Writers Association? Hey, I would love to be able to select the future Hall-of-Fame-ers! As you all know, I have my opinions!)
So my family and I are back from our vacation, and it's time to get back into the swing of things. Let's hope that Alomar and Blyleven have a wonderful day on Sunday, surrounded by friends, family, and other baseball greats.