The Baseball Hall of Fame’s class of 2011 was announced today as 12-time All-Star Roberto Alomar was voted in along with The Dutchman, pitching great Bert Blyleven.
With Alomar narrowly missing enshrinement last year, his call to the Hall was considered to be a sure thing this time around and indeed it was. Alomar was an incredible talent both on the field and at the plate, and he looks to be the first Hall of Fame inductee to be pictured in a Toronto Blue Jay’s cap.
Alomar came up with the San Diego Padres in 1988 but made a name for himself with the Blue Jays, where he helped guide them to back-to-back World Series titles in 1992-1993.
Blyleven’s Hall of Fame status, however, wasn’t such a sure thing. With 287 wins yet only two All-Star appearances, Blyleven had yet to garner enough votes for enshrinement until this year, his 14th year on the ballot.
My memories of Bert were that of watching him pitch from behind home plate and witness from a batters perspective the break of his incredible curve ball and famous change-up delivery. I also have a fond memory of photographing Blyleven during the 1987 World Series, the first of 19 World Series that I have covered to date.
Fellow standout pitcher Jack Morris looks like he’s next in line to enter the Hall, and in my opinion, deservedly so. He was the dominant pitcher in the American League, if not all of baseball, during the 1980’s.
Now it’s time to air a question that I have had for a number of years. If a player of Blyleven’s stature makes it into the Hall of Fame (and I don’t disagree with Bert’s election at all), what happened to Harold Baines? With 2, 866 hits to his credit and six trips to the All-Star game, how is it that he had received barely enough votes to stay on the ballot? Tell me what I’m missing here. Nothing against Edgar Martinez, but when comparing Martinez, who finished last years voting with 36.2% of the vote with Baines at 6.1%, I can only shake my head in disbelief. And today comes word that Harold received only 4.8% of the vote, thus falling off the ballot entirely. What a shame.
Congratulations to Messrs. Alomar and Blyleven on their inclusion into Baseball’s elite club. But what an injustice it was by letting Baines fall off the ballot entirely.