Roberto Alomar, a 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winning second baseman, and Bert Blyleven, a 287-game winning pitcher who ranks fifth on the all-time strikeout list, were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in balloting verified by Ernst & Young.
They will be inducted into the Hall July 24 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with executive Pat Gillick, who was elected last month by the Expansion Era Committee. Also to be honored over Induction Weekend will be Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing and longtime Montreal Expos voice Dave Van Horne with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting.
A record 581 ballots, including five blanks, were cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service. Players must be named on 75 percent of ballots submitted to be elected. This year, 436 votes were required. The previous record total of ballots submitted in a BBWAA election was 545 in 2007 when Cal Ripken Jr. was elected with 537 votes and Tony Gwynn with 532, the two top individual vote totals.
Alomar, who was in his second year on the ballot, received 523 votes, the third highest total in history, for a 90-percent plurality. He was the 26th player to reach the 90-percent level in BBWAA elections. Blyleven, who was in his 14th and next to last year of eligibility, was named on 463 ballots for 79.7 percent. Their election brings to 295 the number of elected Hall members. Of that total, 205 are former major-league players, of which 111 have been through the BBWAA ballot. Alomar is the 20th second baseman (18th former major leaguer) and Blyleven the 72nd pitcher (63rd former major leaguer) elected to the Hall.
Alomar batted .300 with a .371 on-base average and a .443 slugging percentage over a 17-season career with the San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks. The switch hitter totaled 2,724 hits, 1,508 runs, 504 doubles, 80 triples, 210 home runs, 1,134 runs batted in and 474 stolen bases. Alomar, whose father and brother, both named Sandy, played in the majors, was on Toronto’s World Series champions of 1992 and ’93, was the Most Valuable Player of the 1992 American League Championship Series and MVP of the 1998 All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver.
Blyleven pitched in 22 seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and California Angels and compiled a 287-250 record with a 3.31 ERA, 242 complete games, 60 shutouts and 3,701 strikeouts in 4,969 1/3 innings. The righthander pitched a no-hitter on Sept. 22, 1977 for the Rangers against the Angels and shares the AL single-game record for the longest one-hit complete game of 10 innings June 21, 1976. He, too, was a key part of two World Series champions, the 1979 Pirates and the 1987 Twins.
The only other players to gain more than 50 percent of the vote were shortstop Barry Larkin with 361 votes (62.1%) and pitcher Jack Morris with 311 (53.5%).
Players may remain on the ballot for up to 15 years provided they receive five percent of the vote in any year. There were 17 candidates who failed to make the cut this year, including 15 of the 19 players who were on the ballot for the first time. First-year candidates who received sufficient support to remain were Jeff Bagwell with 242 (41.7%), Larry Walker with 118 (20.3%), Rafael Palmeiro with 64 (11%) and Juan Gonzalez with 30 (5.2%).
Other holdovers that will remain on the ballot in addition to Larkin and Morris are first basemen Mark McGwire, Fred McGriff and Don Mattingly; outfielders Tim Raines and Dale Murphy; designated hitter-third baseman Edgar Martinez; shortstop Alan Trammell and relief pitcher Lee Smith. In his 15th and final year on the ballot, Dave Parker received 89 votes (15.3%).
2011 Hall of Fame