He brought a flair for playing the game and some big time talent to the team for three seasons, and today Roberto Alomar has been elected to the Orioles’ Hall of Fame.
“It was a great time with the Orioles,” Alomar said on a media conference call this afternoon. “There were great fans, and I got to meet some great people. We had some great years and went to the playoffs. Wish we could have brought the World Series to Baltimore. We came short, but I’ve got some great memories.
“I heard about it three days ago. I wasn’t expecting it, I was real surprised. I’m honored to be part of such a group of elite people in the organization. Some great players have been inducted to that Hall of Fame. It’s an honor that will stay with me the rest of my life.”
He played on two playoff clubs in his three Orioles seasons from 1996-98. Alomar’s .312 career average with the Orioles is the highest among all players in franchise history with at least 1,200 at-bats for the team, and he ranks ninth all-time in slugging percentage (.480).
He was asked about that 1997 Orioles club that was in first place every day of the season and led the American League with 98 wins, but lost in the ALCS to the Indians.
“There are always regrets when you don’t reach the goal. We had the team to go all the way. It is disappointing, but we got to the playoffs and played some good baseball,” he said.
Alomar also must have some regrets about the spitting incident involving umpire John Hirshbeck from the 1996 playoffs, but he said again today that he and Hirshbeck have long since resolved that.
“In life, you make mistakes,” Alomar said. “I wish it hadn’t happened. It’s a cloud I have to live with, but me and John are great friends. He forgave me, and we are friends and I know his family and his kids. We moved on, and I hope some people can move on the way me and John did.”
Alomar played on Orioles teams that won 88, 98 and 79 games, and he was asked today what he felt he added and brought to a veteran club.
“Maybe the way I played, I like to play hard. I got motivated playing with the guys I played with like Cal Ripken, Eric Davis, Rafael Palmeiro, Brady Anderson. They taught me a lot but hopefully I also brought a winning attitude,” he said.
Alomar was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his second year of eligibility in 2011. He is a 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner. With the Orioles, Alomar won Gold Glove Awards in 1996 and 1998 and a Silver Slugger Award in 1996 and was elected to the All-Star Game in each of his three seasons. Additionally, he was named Most Valuable Player of the 1998 All-Star Game in Colorado.
He is now a special assistant to the Toronto Blue Jays and still checks on what his former club in Baltimore is doing today.
“The Orioles, first of all, they have a great manager and they’ve done a great job in their minor league system in bringing guys up. It proves that if you play the right way, you can win a lot of games. I believe the Orioles are on the right track with some great young players and an unbelievable manager that I have a lot of respect for,” he said.
Former Orioles scout and baseball operations executive Don Pries will be inducted also as this year’s Herb Armstrong Award winner. Alomar and Pries will be honored at a luncheon at Oriole Park sponsored by the Oriole Advocates, founders of the Orioles Hall of Fame, on Friday, August 2. The induction ceremony will take place prior to the Orioles’ game against the Seattle Mariners that night.
Tickets for the luncheon on August 2 are available by calling Ann Serio at 410-247-2703. Tickets for the induction ceremony and the Orioles-Mariners game that evening are available at www.orioles.com or by calling 1-888-848-BIRD.