Who's the best Blue Jay ever? In my mind, there's no doubt it was Roberto Alomar who announced his retirement earlier today.
In the winter of 1990, Alomar and Joe Carter came to Toronto from San Diego in exchange for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez. It was a monster deal and it paid off nicely with two World Series championships over the next few years. He was the MVP of the 1992 American League Championship Series hitting a monumental homer in that series against Dennis Eckersley and he was named to the all-star team every year he played here. He could hit for average, power when necessary, he played breath taking defense and he could steal bases. He was drenched in natural ability and for a while he was the best second baseman in the game.
When Ryne Sandberg was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year, I wrote that was good news for Alomar. I predicted Alomar would follow Sandberg into the hall because they were both second basemen and Alomar's numbers and skill level exceeded that of Sandberg.
Unfortunately, Alomar is retiring 276 hits shy of 3,000. He's also best known by some fans for spitting in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck in 1996 while with Baltimore and he's wrapping up his career with a whimper, batting .266, .258 and .263 the past three years. For these reasons, it's going to be difficult for Alomar to get the 75 per cent support he'll need in five years when he's eligible for Cooperstown.
I hope he makes it. He deserves it.