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Bona Fide

What is the case against Robbie Alomar as a Hall of Famer?

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Has to be something more substantial than the spitting incident. I mean the Johnny Roseboro fight didn’t keep the Dominican Dandy out of the Hall, did it? 


We know that Alomar and Hirschbeck patched things up years ago (not that it matters, really). Based on the numbers, what’s the case against?

Cause to my mind–without doing any work, here–he’s a sure thing. I could be wrong. But the dude was one hell of a hitter (I never wanted to see him up in a big spot against the Yanks when he played for the Blue Jays, Orioles or Indians), not to mention the most artistic-fielding second baseman I’ve ever seen.

What do you think?

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1 monkeypants   ~  Nov 15, 2009 10:28 pm

Hard to argue against him...he didn't even have a very long, painful decline. Basically, he was really, really good until 2001, had a few bad seasons, then hung 'em up. Plus, isn't 2B relatively under-represented in the HOF?

There is no good argument against him, but he might suffer as do many middle IFs from comparison to the bloated numbers put up by contemporary players at hitters positions.

2 monkeypants   ~  Nov 15, 2009 10:31 pm

Plus, I like Alomar because he (and another player I really like, Fred McGriff, were involved in one of the last great blockbuster trades involving only star players (no salary dump, no veteran-for-prospects deal).

3 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 15, 2009 10:35 pm

Seems like many great 2Bs burn hot for a few years, then cliff-dive (Baerga, Alfonso, Alomar).

Hmmm .... all spent time with the Mets .... :-P

4 RagingTartabull   ~  Nov 15, 2009 11:07 pm

it all fell off a cliff in '02, but for all the years leading up to it he's a no-brainer.

the REAL great debate for this year is Edgar Martinez

5 monkeypants   ~  Nov 15, 2009 11:32 pm

[3] There is a pretty big difference between Baerga, who was very good until he was 26 (or "26"?), and Alomar who was very, very good until he was 33.

[4] Martinez is interesting. I tend to say no, but then I'm fairly anti-DH. I guess one would have to look at his career numbers against the very best hitters of his era (excluding Bonds, who is an unfair comparison for anyone). His .900+ OPS and 147 OPS+ are awfully good, but 300+ HRs and (more importantly) 2200+ hits don't look nearly as good. Lots of injuries, lots of missed games, no defensive contribution, the best hitter in the game for about three to five years.

I'd still say no.

6 RagingTartabull   ~  Nov 15, 2009 11:41 pm

[5] Thats a fair analysis, I just hope the voters don't fall to "he's a DH...so no" trap. That kind of thinking is the reason relievers have an uphill battle for getting into the HOF.

McGriff is also an interesting case, if only for the fact that if he had hit 7 more home runs for his career he would probably get way more support than he currently does. And thats just sad.

7 matt b   ~  Nov 15, 2009 11:52 pm

[5] I think the 500 hr mark has lost it's power, frankly. Which is both good and bad, really, but it's definitely bad for a guy who fell short, like McGriff.
As for Martinez, I think "he's a DH, so no" is actually perfectly fair. He had to hit enough to offset the fact that he didn't give you any defensive value at all. If ever a pure DH were to make the HOF, I'd sure hope it was Edgar. What was his career average against the Yankees? I honestly don't recall him ever making out against us.

To me, Alomar is a no-brainer.

8 monkeypants   ~  Nov 15, 2009 11:59 pm

[7] What was his career average against the Yankees? I honestly don’t recall him ever making out against us.

ha-ha. I know what you mean. In fact, in 138 games v. the Yankees, he hit .317/.423/.542/.965, so yeah he was pretty awesome against them. What did he do in the ALDS in 1995? Didn't he hit like .750 ?

9 RagingTartabull   ~  Nov 16, 2009 12:01 am

[7] With the DH thing I'm just talking about people who will refuse to vote for a DH on principle, to me that just isn't right. I mean Molitor is in as (for all intents and purposes) a DH, so it should be a moot point.

McGriff is fascinating to me though. 500 has lost some of its luster, but with the whole steroids thing I think the guys who got to it (or in McG's case, almost there) cleanly are even more impressive. Guys like Thome and Thomas fall into that category.

You look at McGriff's numbers and its clear that the dude could just flat out hit. Baseball Reference has his most comparable players as Stargell and McCovey...not bad.

10 RagingTartabull   ~  Nov 16, 2009 12:04 am

Edgar vs the Yanks in the '95 ALDS:

..571/.667/1.000 with 2 homers and 10 RBI's. Thats just obscene.

11 thelarmis   ~  Nov 16, 2009 12:07 am

here's a decent article on the yankees' offseason needs. towards the end, it champions for cameron on a 1-yr deal. i'm cool with that, too...


oh, and yeah, alomar's a hall of famer. how's that for sound statistical analysis?! ; )

12 monkeypants   ~  Nov 16, 2009 12:30 am

[9] Molitor got in because he got 3,000 hits, which still seems to be a magic number regardless of position. (He also played more games in the field than at DH, though he was basically a full-time DH for the last 8 years of his career).

Interestingly, when you look at his numbers I am not convinced he deserves to be in the HOF, save for the longevity/3000-hit thing. How about this comparison:

name, seasons, G dh, G field, HR, H, slash stats, OPS+
baines, 22, 1644, 1061, 384, 2866, .289/.356/.465/.820, 120
molitor, 21, 1174, 1495, 234, 3319, .306/.369/.448/.81, 122

Baines and Molitor were essentially the same hitters over the course of their careers, except Baines had more HRs but came up 133 H short of 3,000. Yet no one talks about Baines for the HOF.

13 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 16, 2009 12:58 am

Bill Belichek just pulled a "Girardi bullpen outsmarting oneself manuever" ....

14 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 16, 2009 1:00 am

I am not saying he isn't a hall of famer, but Alomar really only had 5 or 6 great seasons, declined quickly and may have been overrated as a defensive player. He is a pretty good candidate, but I don't think he is a slam dunk.

15 monkeypants   ~  Nov 16, 2009 1:19 am

[14] I don't know, I think you're being a bit tough on him. Here are Alomar's top 10 seasons by OPS+:

Alomar: 150, 140, 139, 136, 134, 129, 116, 115, 114, 109 (average= 128.2)
Player X: 153, 132, 132, 128, 127, 125, 125, 123, 121, 114 (average = 128.0)

Player X is none other than Derek Jeter. Now, I am not saying Alomar is Jeter's equal, he's not. But I think that Alomar was rather better than "5 or 6 great seasons).

Alomar was almost certainly one of the two best 2B of his era (the other being Biggio), unless I have forgotten someone. Top two at your position for a decade+ is a pretty strong HOF resume.

16 Evil Empire   ~  Nov 16, 2009 1:22 am

FWIW, Alomar's career similarity scores...

1. Derek Jeter (892)
2. Barry Larkin (877)
3. Lou Whitaker (858)
4. Frankie Frisch (855) *
5. Julio Franco (850)
6. Ivan Rodriguez (840)
7. Ryne Sandberg (835) *
8. Alan Trammell (833)
9. Joe Morgan (830) *
10. Ted Simmons (822)

* signifies HOF'er.

17 monkeypants   ~  Nov 16, 2009 1:27 am

[16] And Jeter will be a HOFer, and Larkin and Trammell should be as well.

18 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Nov 16, 2009 3:04 am

Alomar is easily one of the 10-best 2B of all time, easy HOFer. Very complete player.

[13] I don't follow much football, but Whoahhh!!! 4th & 2 from your OWN 28yrd line, in the 4th quarter? I guess winning 3 Supes gives you the legitimacy to do that but really, seems inexplicable...

19 thedmondsjr   ~  Nov 16, 2009 10:04 am

Very little question that Alomar's play earned him a plaque, but the spitting incident, my guess, is preventing him from getting the necessary support from the morality judges who vote on such things. Spitting is such a vile and low act for a sportsman, and Alomar's reputation was forever stained. For lack of any other evidence, it appears that one moment of stupid anger is keeping him out of the HOF.

20 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 16, 2009 10:26 am

[15] I don't see more than 5-6 great years in your list. Alomar had only 6 seasons with an OPS+ above 116 (Jeter has nine) and one of those was in only 112 games. You also can't simply average OPS+ (an OPS+ of 100 in 600ABs and 200 in 100ABs doesn't average to 150).

As for the best 2B of a decade, I guess it depends on what 10 years you use. For example, I think a strong case for Kent over Alomar could be made.

While I would lean toward voting for Alomar, I don't think he is a slam dunk and wouldn't be shocked if he doesn't make it on the first ballot.

21 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 16, 2009 10:28 am

[19] Alomar's first year of eligibility is this year, so it's premature to talk about what "is keeping him out".

22 monkeypants   ~  Nov 16, 2009 11:56 am

[20] Whoops, forgot about Kent.

Yes, my math was quick and dirty, but the point stands that Alomar's career was more than just 5 or 6 great seasons then a precipitous drop off. His ten best seasons match up well with Jeter's ten best (one of which was injury shortened)--I think that's a fair statement.

Further, their career stats right now are similar (though Jeter of course has a goodly edge):

Alomar: 17 seasons, 2724 H, 210 HR, 474 SB (114 CS), .300/.371/.443/.814, 116 OPS+
Jeter: 15 seasons, 2747 H, 224 HR, 305 SB (80 CS), .317/.388/.459/.847, 121 OPS+

My main point was that you were too quick to dismiss (or better, diminish) Alomar's career. again, I think that I made a fair point.

23 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Nov 16, 2009 12:29 pm

Alomar, for those of us who watched him here in Toronto, is actually exhibit A for how fielding range stats need tweaking OR we are all blind and stupid. He was glorious in the field to watch, but his actual numbers don't dazzle. I think he's a HoF, way more than Jim Rice, say. But I also think Lou Whitaker's been jobbed a bit, and Trammel. Infielders get underrepresented in some ways today - there was some over representation of so-so hitters in the old days, seems to me.

The spitting: yes, it is probably the first thing most casual fans associate with his name. But there are members of the Ku Klux Klan in the Hall, you know...

24 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 16, 2009 12:47 pm

We really need offensive stats to have a sister stat that is position adjusted. An OPS+ of 100 may be AVERAGE... but average for who? An OPS+ of 100 would be below average for a COFer but above average for a C. This is why Jeter is so great. Not his numbers per se, but his numbers for a SS. Over RA's career, what was the average OPS+ for 2nd basemen?

Without looking at stats, I would thi8nk he's definitely in.

25 MichiganYankee   ~  Nov 16, 2009 1:49 pm

Alomar's off-the-cliff decline at age 34 will hurt him, especially since he bit the dust in New York. As for Dale Murphy (who fell off the cliff at 32), the lingering memory of Alomar is "they call this guy a Hall of Famer"?

26 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 16, 2009 2:47 pm

[22] I don't think I diminished Alomar by suggesting he was a strong Hall of Fame candidate, but not a no-brainer.

27 monkeypants   ~  Nov 16, 2009 3:02 pm

[26] You diminished Aomar, IMO, when you reduced his career to 5 or 6 great seasons and then steep decline...this implicitly undersold what was a long, very good (often great) career with only a few bad years tacked on at the end. You made it sound like his career was a hadful of fluky great seasons and no more, or perhaps an injury-shortened/decline-shortened flash in the pan (a la Mattingly). It was a misleading statement.

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