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Hall of Fame voter: Roberto Alomar dogged it one time, so I'm not voting for him

Dec 2, 2009, 9:55 AM EDT

On the heels of Hal Bodley’s questionable bit of reasoning comes Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer who likewise won’t be voting for Alomar this year.  His reasons? In addition to the idiotic “he’s no first ballot Hall of Famer” thing, he says Alomar failed to run out two ground balls that resulted in double plays in a 2001 ALDS against Seattle:

I ripped Alomar for his 0-for-4 game in the 3-1 season-ending loss
and, more, for his lackadaisical attitude. This was not picking on a
player for one bad day. That can happen to anyone. His lack of effort,
however, struck at the core values of the game.

When Mark Shapiro was named the new general manager after the
season, replacing John Hart, I brought up Alomar’s fifth-game
performance in a meeting. Shapiro admitted that Alomar did not give his
all that day. He knew the player was a diva, and traded him before the
next season.

For starters, I wonder if Shapiro will go on record today admitting that he called Alomar a diva who didn’t give his all in a playoff game.  If he will, sure, maybe there’s a bit more to Livingston’s beef.  If not, we’re left with one writer’s subjective view of things. Anyone wanna ask Shapiro about it?

Either way, I’m not sure how you look at 2700 hits, ten gold gloves, a .300 career average, superior numbers in most advanced metrics and two World Series rings and say “Sorry, but no. There was this day back in 2001 that he didn’t make it down the line fast enough.”  What player could possibly pass that test?

  1. JS - Dec 2, 2009 at 10:19 AM

    I hate Hall of Fame voters.

  2. John_Michael - Dec 2, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    I guess my Google skills aren’t up to par, but I’d love to see Mr. Livingston’s past HOF voting record. My guess is that this article is a publicity thing and his previous HOF voting doesn’t reconcile with his current stance on Alomar.

  3. Kage10 - Dec 2, 2009 at 10:57 AM

    Roberto was great with the Indians. I say one of the best 2nd basemen ever. I loved watching him, he was consistent and holding that one thing against him is insane. There has to be more to it. And a Cleveland sportswriter at that? We should be able to count on our hometown writers at least. Just ask Verlander…but the HOF voters obviously take this “power” to their head. Screw them. Go Roberto!

  4. RobRob - Dec 2, 2009 at 11:12 AM

    I agree that the “He’s no first ballot Hall of Famer” argument is lame on its own merit, but I can also see the point that guys who get in on that first ballot ought to be absolute no-brainers.
    If one can make any case against a player’s qualifications, we might as well wait and revisit it later.
    Then again, what the hell are we actually going to learn in the next year or two (or fifteen) that we don’t know already? Are these guys just waiting around for the “general consensus” to form? Are they waiting for a “story” to develop? Are they incapable of actually doing any analysis?

  5. Bill@TDS - Dec 2, 2009 at 11:18 AM

    The key point in all this “first-ballot” stuff is this, as I said yesterday — if EVERYONE thought this way, the guy would drop off the ballot. So you’re relying on other people to do the sensible thing you’re not going to in order to give you a *chance* to vote for him next year.
    And Alomar obviously isn’t going to drop off the ballot…but Lou Whitaker did. It’s not *totally* unthinkable that Edgar or Larkin or McGriff might, if enough people think this way (I’m not saying that McGriff definitely belongs, but he, like Whitaker, deserves a fair up-or-down shake without a certain percentage of the voters saying “maybe, but not yet”). If we have to have a way to say “yeah, this guy was a Hall of Famer, but not a HALL OF FAMER,” there’s got to be a much better way to say it.

  6. APBA Guy - Dec 2, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    It’s just crazy to say that R Alomar is not a first ballot Hall of Famer. Unless there is a personal ax to grind, like he stole their girlfriend, I have heard nothing from these MSM losers that is substantively baseball related that would preclude Alomar from getting a vote.
    The guy had everything, and style to boot. He played great defense, he hit way above norm for the position, he ran well, and he was a “winner”.
    I saw the Hirschbeck incident. I was appalled. But it was one incident. Overall, still an easy first ballot HoF’er.

  7. Bobby Davis - Dec 2, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    Mickey Mantle, Grover Cleveland Alexander, and Jimmie Foxx, to name but a few, came to games hungover and outright drunk. Was that giving it their all? Baseball is a long season and not everyone is at their best every day, not even the greatest players. Manny Ramirez is a diva, so was Reggie Jackson. Arguments like that made about Alomar are simply idiotic. And how long did Alomar last as an elite player after Shapiro dumped him? Three more years, with steep decline. He was dumping a highly paid player near the end of his career.

  8. BC - Dec 2, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    “What player could possibly pass that test?”
    Umm… Derek Jeter could pass that test. Cal Ripken could pass that test. Heck, Pete Rose could pass that test.
    Alomar was a diva and he completely dogged it with the Mets,
    but I gotta admit he’s a Hall of Famer. Arguably the best or second-best 2B of his era (pre-Mets). Being a diva (as well as spitting on an umpire) shouldn’t keep you out of the HOF.

  9. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 2, 2009 at 12:10 PM

    I agree with your HoF thoughts, BC, but are you honestly suggesting that Derek Jeter or Pete Rose ever once had a game where they didn’t run hard on a double play? Because really, Livingston cites a single game. If you need it to be a playoff game I’m still dubious.

  10. Kelly - Dec 2, 2009 at 12:23 PM

    I avoid most HoF conversations because of the idiocy of most sportswriters. But Craig, do you think there would be any value to having it be a one and done type of thing? I know the discussion of “what makes a guy worthy the second year that he wasn’t the first?” is around here somewhere.
    If he’s not a “first ballot” HoF, then is he one at all?

  11. Kelly - Dec 2, 2009 at 12:24 PM

    I also meant to add that making it one and done would definitely put sportswriters on a different realm than they have had to be previously.

  12. Joey B - Dec 2, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    I thought about that yesterday. The only objection I could see is that, if it was a particularly stacked year, someone could legitimately not vote for a worthy candidate.
    And since many voters (probably most) feel it is perfectly acceptable to vote a guy in on his first ballot, then why should some writers feel they should receive preferential treatment to adopt a ‘no first-timer’ rule? All writers should be using the same criteria.
    Besides, even among fans, the ‘first-ballot’ concept is ill-defined. When I hear it, I never interpret that as official. It simply means an elite HOF player, as opposed to a regular HOF. For example, maybe Mantel and Mays are elite, while Reggie is just regular, and I don’t look at the actual voting to see if that is technically true.

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