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Former Indians Blyleven, Alomar Elected to Hall of Fame

 

 

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Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Both men fell just short of the required votes to get into the prestigious organization last year, but this time around both received more than enough votes to earn their spot among baseball’s greatest players.

Alomar was named on 90 percent of the record 581 ballots turned in this year by hall of fame voters. After making his major-league debut for San Diego in 1988, Alomar left for Toronto where he was a big part of the Blue Jays’ back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. Alomar’s plaque will represent the second baseman sporting a Blue Jays cap. Alomar signed with the Baltimore Orioles in 1995 and had continued success with the ball club, appearing in the American League Championship Series in 1996 and 1997, though the Orioles were defeated in both series.

On November 4, 1998 Alomar signed a 4-year deal with the Cleveland Indians. It was his time spent with the Tribe that defined Alomar as one of the greatest defensive second baseman to ever play the game. Teamed with Omar Vizquel at shortstop, the two would wow the crowds at Jacobs Field with their incredible fielding and finesse for the next four seasons. Alomar would be traded to the Mets before the 2002 season, and spent the next three years bouncing around to the White Sox, Diamondbacks and finally the Tampa Bay Devil Rays before calling it a career before the 2005 season started.

Over 17 seasons, Alomar had a .300 batting average with 210 home runs, 1,134 RBI and 2,724 hits in 2,379 games.

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Blyleven was drafted in the third round by the Minnesota Twins in 1969. He made his debut for the club on June 9, 1970 at the age of 19 and finished the season as the AL Rookie Pitcher of the Year. In 1973, he pitched 9 shut outs, more than any pitcher in the American League. Blyleven was traded to the Texas Rangers on June 1, 1976 after falling out with the Twins and their fan base. Though he pitched well for the Rangers, and tossed a no-hitter in ‘77 against the California Angels, an incident where Blyleven gave the finger to a Ranger’s television camera caused enough of an uproar that he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in December of the same year.

With the Pirates, Blyleven continued his success, leading the team in complete games, ERA and strike-outs and was a big part of the club’s 1979 World Series victory. The honeymoon with the Pirates was short-lived though, and by the half-way point of the 1980 season Blyleven was demanding a trade, going so far as to threaten to retire if he remained in Pittsburgh. The Pirates eventually traded him to the Cleveland Indians on December 9, 1980. With the Tribe, Blyleven had several successful seasons, including the 1984 campaign which saw him go 19-7 with a 2.87 ERA for a horrific Indians ballclub. Blyleven couldn’t deal with the constant losing in Cleveland, and once again requested a trade, this time back to the Twins in time for the team’s 1987 World Series victory. He would spend the next three years in Minnesota before heading to the California Angels in 1989 and remained with the club until his retirement following the 1992 season.

Blyleven finished his career with a record of 287-250 and a 3.31 ERA. He also is a member of the elite 3,000 strike-out club, fanning 3,701 men in his career. He pitched an astonishing 242 complete games and 60 shut outs. This is Blyleven’s 14th year of eligibility for induction into the Hall of Fame.

 

By Robert Gonzalez
Cleveland Indians Correspondent


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