Second baseman Roberto Alomar and starting pitcher Bert Blyleven have been voted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Both received over 70 percent of the vote last year, just missing the cutoff of 75 percent, and the overwhelming tendency of players who clear 70 percent is to make it the following year.
Blyleven started his career well as a 19-year-old in 1970 and had a very long career after that, lasting until his age 41 season in 1992. He had 287 career wins and 3701 career strikeouts, good for fifth all time. He also pitched for the Pirates from 1978 to 1980 and was part of the “We Are Family” World Series team in 1979. He was clearly a deserving candidate who languished on the ballot for far too long, so it’s great to see him finally get in. Jenifer Langosch reports that he got 79.7 percent of the vote; another former Pirate, Dave Parker, got 15.3 percent of the vote and is no longer eligible to be voted in by the baseball writers.
Alomar was for years known more for an unfortunate incident in which he spat in an umpire’s face than for his play, but he was one of the best second basemen ever, with a long string of Gold Gloves and a career OPS+ of 116.
Blyleven and Alomar were the best candidates in the class, although in the future I hope Tim Raines and Barry Larkin can get in as well. None of this year’s first-year candidates (Rafael Palmeiro, Jeff Bagwell, Kevin Brown, Larry Walker and others) made it. The steroid issue loomed over Palmeiro in particular – he has Hall of Fame-quality stats, but his connection with steroids kept him out and will probably continue to do so, at least in the near future.