The Orioles Hall of Fame will make room a player later this summer who’s already been elected into Cooperstown.
Former second baseman Roberto Alomar will be honored on Aug. 2 prior to the Orioles game against the Seattle Mariners at Camden Yards. Former Orioles scout and baseball operations executive Don Pries will be inducted as this year’s Herb Armstrong Award winner.
Alomar played for the Orioles from 1996-1998, compiling a .312 batting average, 50 home runs and 210 RBIs in 412 regular season games. His .312 career average with the Orioles is the highest among all players in franchise history with at least 1,200 at-bats, and he ranks ninth all-time in slugging percentage at .480.
In 1996, Alomar set a franchise record with 132 runs scored, fourth-most in the American League, and also led the team in batting average (.328), hits (193), doubles (43) and on-base percentage (.411), as the Orioles made their first playoff appearance in 13 seasons. He set team records for home runs (20, 22 total) and RBIs (84, 94 total) as a second baseman in a single season.
In the playoffs, Alomar’s ninth inning, two-out single tied the American League Division Series Game 4 against the Cleveland Indians, and his 12th inning home run won that game and the series.
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 in Baltimore. He was named Most Valuable Player in the 1998 All-Star Game in Colorado.
The 12-time All-Star and 10 time Gold Glove winner was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2011 - the first player to be enshrined as a Toronto Blue Jay. He’s among 12 HOF members who played for the Orioles and were inducted for their on-field accomplishments.
Alomar was regarded as the best overall player in baseball for a period. The only hesitancy for some voters in electing him into the Orioles’ HOF was due to his limited years in the organization. Also, he batted only .282/.347/.418 in 1998, a significant drop from his first two seasons. However, he still made the All-Star team and won a Gold Glove.
There’s also the “spitting incident,” but Alomar apologized years ago and umpire John Hirschbeck forgave him. Both men have moved on from it.
Alomar donated $50,000 to ALD research and made a public apology to Hirschbeck, whose son died of the disease, on April 22, 1997. Alomar later made a donation of $252,000 for ALD research.
Scott Erickson, Jeff Conine and Rafael Palmeiro also were on this year’s ballot.
Pries worked for the Orioles from 1968-1974 as an area scout (1968-69), Director of Player Personnel (1970-72) and Assistant to the General Manager (1973-74). He oversaw the Orioles’ farm system and worked with general manager Harry Dalton during the most successful time in club history, when the Orioles went to the playoffs five times and won three American League pennants and the World Series in 1970.
Pries left the Orioles after the 1974 season to help Major League Baseball design a computer system for the MLB Scouting Bureau, benefiting all teams. In 1987, he became Director of the Major League Scouting Bureau and a year later created the Scout Development Program, a curriculum designed to teach all facets of scouting. Since its inception, more than 1,000 people have completed the program and more than 75 percent of those are currently employed or have worked in Major League Baseball.
Pries played 13 seasons in the minor leagues and managed for five years before beginning his off-field career as a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1960. He also scouted for the Cleveland Indians and Oakland A’s prior to joining the Orioles.
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, Aug. 2. Tickets for the luncheon are available by calling Ann Serio at 410-247-2703.
Tickets for the induction ceremony and the Orioles-Mariners game on Aug. 2 are available at www.orioles.com or by calling 1-888-848-BIRD.