The photo most often published of Roberto Alomar from his Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony this past June shows the former all-star’s beautiful wife, Maria, holding his hand and looking adoringly at him. Here’s a link to the photo: http://is.gd/ebun5
But if the allegations levied against Alomar last week prove to be true, this type of matrimonial bliss is an aberration. After a domestic dispute at his Tampa-area home last week, Alomar has been ordered not to come within 150 metres of his wife and is prohibited from contacting her. In a complaint filed with the police, Alomar’s wife also alleges that the former Jay pushed her and threatened her with a knife in previous arguments. A hearing on the allegations will take place this Friday.
I’ve been asked whether I think this most recent incident will impact Alomar’s Cooperstown chances in 2011? My answer is yes. As I’ve written before, Alomar deserves a plaque in Cooperstown, but this type of transgression isn’t taken lightly by today’s baseball writers. Alomar was just eight votes shy of induction in 2010, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see his vote total drop in 2011.
Is this fair when the case hasn’t even reached the courts? Perhaps not, but Alomar is assembling a disturbing rap sheet. First, there’s the spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck on September 27, 1996, that nobody can seem to forget, including baseball writers. Then last year, an ex-lover further tarnished Alomar’s image by dropping a bombshell lawsuit that alleged that the ex-Jay had unprotected sex with her even though he had AIDs. That dispute was quietly settled. And now we have these most recent allegations from his wife. It’s important to note that he hasn’t been charged with anything at this point, but at the very least, Alomar is guilty of some monumentally bad decisions.
Alomar was an all-star and Gold Glove winner in each of his five seasons with the Jays. And his career stats – .300 batting average, 2,724 hits, 474 stolen bases, 504 doubles – are worthy of Cooperstown enshrinement. Add 12 all-star selections, 10 Gold Gloves and two World Series rings to the mix and there should no statistical argument against him.
I realize that evaluating players by the way they act in their personal lives is a tricky business. Alomar’s rap sheet, however, is becoming increasingly disturbing, and I do believe that his latest transgression will have a negative impact on his Cooperstown chances.
This too could pass. Sports journalists have a long history of looking the other way with sports figures and domestic violence. How many BBHOF voters even heard of it?
Using steroids = pariah, threatening women = indifference. Total double standard, but it’s what is. I don’t think there’s a significant percentage of the voters who would change their mind from “yay” to “nay” over this story. They also might be cancelled out by sportswriters who will vote for Alomar in 2011.
Warren Moon had a much publicized domestic violence arrest and went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The difference was it had been several years and the voters for that institution tend to focus more a guy’s playing ability (see Taylor, Lawrence).
He’ll get in. I am confident.
Interesting take, Neate. And you may be right. We’ll see in January.
It appears that Alomar is just another gifted athlete, with an massive ego who just can’t take it if things do not go his way. There seems to be a lot of these guys out there. To me character is the most important part of human makeup. More should be done to show these “super” athletes the importance of character in their developing years–rather than continually “stroking” their egos.
I’ve said it more than once: If you went through the Hall of Fame and removed all of the wife beaters, racists, drunks, gamblers, adulterers, and creeps, you’d probably end up with a pretty sparsely populated building. I think ballplayers should be voted in — or not — based on what they did on the field; their character and how people deal with that should be a separate issue. We can respect someone’s accomplishments in one area without condoning everything they’ve ever done.
I have to take issue with this stance because I think character is all that matters. Wifebeaters, racists, etc. should not be revered in any arena even if they can throw a wicked fastball or hold a .400 batting average. Michael Vick and the dogfighting ring, for instance. Is he a nice man? Not really but I guess no one cares since he’s a stellar player. People get thrown in jail for that kind of crap, not in halls of fame. Thats just my opinion, but the divide between a person’s deeds and their character is false and harmful.
In the event of nuclear Armageddon, the only things we can count on to survive it are cockroaches and the debate over whether “character” should be a determining factor for Cooperstown enshrinement. This speaks to the tendency of baseball fans to elevate the game to the status of secular religion and it’s players to sainthood. And yet, it’s not as simple as that.
Organized baseball was the brainchild of rich businessmen whose only goal was to separate the masses from their meager wages. And they did it by pushing the concept known as the “integrity” of the game. They understood that their profits were tied to the human tendency to worship at altars. And a hundred years later that formula hasn’t changed.
Nevertheless, baseball history is replete with inconsistencies that defy logic. The “Black Sox” scandal of 1919 is the barometer of this thinking. The Sox threw the World Series because everyone was getting rich but them. At the time, gambling was truly the nation’s past-time and the owners relentlessly played with conditions that led to winning bets. And when their greed threatened to go public they hired a half-witted, fire-and-brimstone circuit court judge, Kennesaw Mountain Landis, to breathe “sanctity” back into this hopelessly jaundiced business.
The effect was to label gambling as the only unforgivable sin. The proof of that tack is to consider player behavior that went unchecked. Ty Cobb was baseball’s version of a psychopath. A brilliant player who went out of his way to injure other players by sliding into them with his spikes aimed at their vital areas.
Babe Ruth was a drug-addicted sexual predator who drove his wife to suicide.
Joe DiMaggio was a sullen misanthrope who hated everyone except himself.
Mickey Mantle was an alcoholic boor who went out of his way to demean people.
Mike Schmidt was regularly booed by his own hometown fans despite the fact that he’s arguably the best third-baseman of all time.
All these sorry excuses for human beings are in the HOF. If they made it then there’s no reason why Alomar, arguably the best second baseman outside of Joe Morgan, shouldn’t be. No gambling, no steroids. But the spitting incident won’t ever go away. The other accusations are just that, accusations. Alomar and the ump have long buried the hatchet but the thing that sticks in the public craw is his unfathomably insensitive remark at the time that Hirschbeck was screwing up because his young son had just died. Even the worst of this rogue’s gallery didn’t stoop that low. Even the dullest intellect in the stands gets it.
So we know that being a dog of a human being gets a pass from fans as long as you don’t cross the universal line of mocking dead children and you don’t, like Pete Rose, break baseball’s first commandment of gambling.
And that brings us to steroids. Suddenly, the use of performance-enhancing drugs is the greatest threat to the “integrity” of the game. What goes unreported is that there has never been a generation that didn’t have quick and easy access to similar “boosters.” Uppers, downers, booze, narcotics. They’ve all been around since the Age of the Egyptians and by all accounts baseball players have used them liberally (not to mention corked bats, sign stealing and spitballs). Players have always looked for ways to cheat the system because millions of dollars are on the line. Baseball is a relentless pressure cooker that rewards performance and destroys those who don’t perform. No surprise that so many players chose to juke themselves up. The prize for mediocrity is a one-way ticket to the land of burger-flipping at McDonald’s.
Bottom line: The game is and always has been fixed by the rich and disinterested. They respond to cheating allegations by tossing people in the brig in an effort to keep the fans believing in their particular brand of religion. And they hold the upper hand because the fans NEED to see that justice is done…whatever that means.
I believed that he should be judged solely by his work in the field of Baseball and not by his behavior outside de ball Park. The way that he played the game gained him the credential to be in the Hall Of Fame of that sport. Let the Courts judge him for his actions in public life.
Josué Santiago de la Cruz