Roberto Alomar

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Roberto Alomar Velázquez (born February 5, 1968) is a former Major League Baseball player and is considered by many to be one of the best second basemen to have ever played the game.

A native of Salinas, Puerto Rico, Alomar was a switch-hitter and threw right-handed. He is the son of Sandy Alomar, Sr.; a former All-Star second baseman with a 15-year MLB experience. His older brother, Sandy Jr., is a catcher who plays for the Texas Rangers.

Alomar broke into the Major Leagues in 1988 with the San Diego Padres, where he was regarded as an excellent fielder with speed and a solid bat. In 1991 he and Joe Carter were traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez. It was in Toronto that he developed into a premier offensive second basemen, combining a .300-plus batting average with some pop and a continued threat on the bases. In 1993 he batted .326, third in the league behind teammates John Olerud and Paul Molitor. He was a large part of Toronto's World Series championships in 1992 and 1993. Next to Joe Carter's World Series-winning shot in 1993, his homerun in the 1992 ALCS is considered by many as the most important hit in the club's history.

In 1995 Alomar moved to greener pastures, signing with the Baltimore Orioles at a time when Toronto was moving to rebuild and Baltimore was building towards a championship-calibre team. He would play again in the playoffs in 1996 and 1997 for the Orioles, although the Orioles were defeated in the American League Championship Series in both years.

On September 27, 1996, Alomar gained notoriety when, during a game against his former team, the Blue Jays, he got into a heated argument over a called third strike with umpire John Hirschbeck and spat in his face. He defended himself by saying Hirschbeck had uttered a racial slur and that Hirschbeck had been bitter ever since his son had died of ALD. He was suspended for five games and required to donate $50,000 to ALD research. Alomar and Hirschbeck have since settled their differences, and now consider one another friends. Regarding the incident at his retirement, Alomar said, "That, to me, is over and done. It happened over nine years ago. We are now great friends. We have done some things with charity. God put us maybe in this situation for something. But I think people who know me, people who have had the chance to be with me on the same team, know what kind of person I am. Anything I ever did wrong, I would confront it and now it is OK." Alomar later donated $252,000 toward research for the disease Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) as a result of his relationship with Hirschbeck.

In 1999 Alomar signed with the Cleveland Indians, joining his brother, Sandy Jr. It was in Cleveland that Roberto would have two of his finest seasons -- and perhaps two of the finest seasons ever for a second baseman. In 1999 he hit .323 with 24 HRs, 120 RBIs and 37 stolen bases, and in 2001 he collected .336, 20, 100 and 30. Cleveland would make the playoffs in both years only to lose in the American League Division Series. Alomar finished 3rd in MVP voting in 1999.

On the field, Alomar teamed with shortstop Omar Vizquel one of the most decorated keystone combination of all time. In 2000, with Vizquel committing just three errors all season long, the entire infield committed just 34 errors, one more than the record set by the New York Mets a year previous. Vizquel, Alomar and third baseman Travis Fryman won the Gold Glove Award that season. Beside this, the Vizquel-Alomar duo won three Gold Gloves, joining a select list of eight shortstop-second baseman duos have won the honor in the same season while playing together.

In his career, Alomar established remarkable milestones for a second baseman, including making twelve straight All-Star teams (1990-2001); winning ten straight gold gloves (1992-2001); batting over .300 nine times (1992-1997, 1999-2001); posting on OBP over .400 five times (1992-93, 1996, 1999, 2001); scoring 100 or more runs six times (1992-93, 1996, 1999-2001); driving in 100 or more runs twice (1999, 2001); stealing 30 or more bases eight times (1989, 1991-93, 1995, 1999-2001), and winning four Silver Slugger awards (1992, 1996, 1999-2000). There seemed no doubt that his immortality was assured, but then he was traded to the New York Mets before the 2002 season, in the same trade that brought outfielders Matt Lawton and Alex Escobar to the Indians.

In 2002, Alomar hit only .266 with 53 RBIs and 73 runs scored while falling apart defensively at second base. Not even a midseason trade back to the American League to the Chicago White Sox part way through 2003 could revive him from his funk. There was more misery ahead with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004, after missing two months with a broken right hand. On August 5, he returned to the White Sox. He finished hitting just .263 in 56 games.

Alomar agreed to a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for the 2005 season. However, after a spring plagued by back trouble, which affected Alomar's game, he decided to retire from the game on March 19 2005.

In a 17-year career, Alomar was a .300 hitter with 210 home runs and 1134 RBI in 2379 games.

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