Roberto Alomar: Un Pelotero Especial

One of the joys of living in Cooperstown is the annual Friends of the Village Library Used Book Sale. Well, sort of annual. The summer sale was called off due to the plague, but the resourceful volunteers at FOVL cobbled together a weeklong sale last week.

There are always cool finds beyond the scads of Danielle Steeles, Sean Hannitys and John Grishams. This is an old community, and ancient books tend to pop up now and then. This is not a diverse community, so I was shocked to see two Spanish language baseball books – La Maquinaria Perfecta, about the 1954-55 Santurce Cangrejeros and Roberto Alomar: Un Pelotero Especial.

My affection for Robbie Alomar is deep. He was always a favorite of mine, but looms large in our family history because, while we awaited the birth of our second son (in January 1993), I was watching the Jays-A’s playoffs while we discussed potential names. By the time Alomar blasted a 9th inning home run off Dennis Eckersley is Game 4 of the ALCS, it was decided – Robbie (officially Robert Samuel). I’ve met Alomar a few times. The first time I told him my son was named for him. He was stunned. (One of my favorite memories was when we met, again, at a Hall of Fame event, and when I went up to him for a photo he said, “I know you.” Validation!)

Back to the book. It a thick, oversized, glossy tribute, with tons of fantastic pictures. One Appendix has a terrific smattering of Alomar cards – official issues, Baseball Cards Magazine custom, Gary Cieradowski art card, minor league cards. It’s a feast that I had to share.

As to Robbie himself, it’s almost required that someone feels compelled to chime in about the spitting incident. Don’t. I don’t know the guy, but he’s been nice every time we’ve met. For him, don’t judge a person at their worst.  For you, I wish the same.

Author: Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.

9 thoughts on “Roberto Alomar: Un Pelotero Especial”

  1. As a kid, I never lived in a city with an MLB team, but was a huge Orioles fan. One summer, my family took a vacation to Texas, and we stopped in Arlington to see the Orioles play the Rangers. I was in the hotel lobby and saw Alomar, then an Oriole, walking towards the door. As an over-enthusiastic kid, I said “Good luck tonight!” He could have easily acted like he didn’t hear me, but instead he turned around and said a few nice words with a big smile. Then he went to the ballpark that night and got a couple of hits in the Orioles’ win.

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  2. Coincidentally, The Athletic just had a touching piece by Ken Rosenthal about retired umpire John Hirschbeck preparing an auction of his late son’s memorabilia collection to benefit a foundation Hirschbeck set up and named after his son, and there is this line:

    “Now come the auctions, but not every item in the Hirschbecks’ collection will be available. The family kept a handful of pieces they considered the most meaningful. John’s plate brushes, umpire indicators and framed tickets from his five World Series made the cut. So did a framed photo that hung in Michael’s room from the time he was a little boy, signed by former Indians stars Thome, Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, David Justice and Roberto Alomar — yes, the same Alomar who spat on John in 1996, but later became his friend and a donor to Hirschbeck’s charitable efforts for ALD in the late 1990s and 2000s.”

    Robbie does seem like a really good guy.

    (link to the auction (should be posted later today):

    Liked by 1 person

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