By Bob Elliott
There were 18 stories totaling 8,993 words and 48,950 characters on ‘The Trade’ in the Toronto Sun on Thursday, Dec. 6 1990.
That was the day Stand Pat Gillick shed his image becoming Trader Pat as the Blue Jays moved shortstop Tony Fernandez and first baseman Fred McGriff to the San Diego Padres for second baseman Robbie Alomar and outfielder Joe Carter at 3 o’clock Wednesday afternoon in Chicago.
Yet, of all those words, opinions, expert analysis the most accurate, most memorable come from Buck Rodgers, who managed the Montreal Expos. Rodgers was at the winter meetings lobby in Chicago hours after the deal was made and arguments with in full discussion.
“The Blue Jays won the deal because they wound up with the best player in Robbie Alomar,” said Rodgers.
You mean Alomar will be the best down the road?
“I mean he’s the best right now, he was the best last year, he’ll be the best five years from now and he will have had the best career five years after they are finished.”
Rodgers was right.
Alomar was the only one of the four inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Already inducted into the Puerto Rico Hall of Fame, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Alomar is the newest baseball player elected to the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.
Fittingly Alomar was inducted into Cooperstown along with the man who brought him to Toronto _ Gillick in July of 2011.
Since then Alomar was has worked as part of outgoing Jays president Paul Beeston’s pose. And he has been putting in more hours than other posse members Cito Gaston, George Bell, Pat Hentgen and Carlos Delgado.
Alomar travels coast to coast for the Blue Jays Academy events and the Honda Super Camps. CFO Stephen Brooks witnessed Alomar on the road last season and declared Alomar had “rock star” status on Jays trips into the hinterlands.
He’s the commissioner of the third annual Tournament 12 (named for his uniform number, not the number of teams). In 2013 after attending a clinic in British Columbia, Alomar flew in two players from Vancouver to Pearson who could not afford the flight.
Then, Alomar took it a step further going to the Jays Care Foundation appealing to make the tourney more affordable to every Canadian. It now costs $350 player from outside Ontario.
More than one amateur coach isn’t worried about whether new pres Mark Shapiro bringing in a right-hander, or a lefty. Amateur coaches want to see the Blue Jays commitment to amateur ball to remain status quo.
That’s the kind of impact Alomar has had.
Besides the fact he’s in Cooperstown and leads Hall of Famers when it comes to receiving thank yous from Canadians, here are 10 times you should know about Robbie, the year-round resident of Toronto as he:
10. Never lost a game against his older brother Sandy growing up, it’s the truth, according to their father Sandy, who says: “Robbie would quit any game Sandy was winning.”
9. Singled in his first major-league at-bat facing Houston Astros’ Nolan Ryan Friday, April 22, 1988, at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. Robbie and Ryan had played catch a decade before when Sandy played for the California Angels.
8. Was with his brother Sandy and father Sandy a coach, all wearing Padres uniform at the 1990 all-star game at Wrigley Field. Just a typical father-and-sons day at the ball yard.
7. Had a first-inning double off Milwaukee Brewers Ron Robinson for his first hit in a Toronto uniform April 11, 1991. He had gone hitless in six at-bats with four walks in the opening series against the Boston Red Sox.
6. Hit .474 (9-for-19) as the Jays lost the best-of-seven 1991 American League Championship Series to the Minnesota Twins in five games.. He had four RBIs and a .997 OPS.
5. Hit .310 in 1992 with 27 doubles, eight triples, eight hers and 76 RBIs with an .832 OPS.
4. Hit a 2-2 pitch from Dennis Eckersley with Devon White on for a two-run homer in the top of the ninth in Game 4 of the ALCS in Oakland. Pat Borders drove in the game winner in the 11th to give the Jays a 3-1 lead.
Alomar threw his arms over his head in celebration after Eckersley has shot an imaginary six-gun into the Jays dugout fanning Ed Sprague. Two years ago Eckersley asked Alomar “why did you do what you did?” Replied Alomar “why did you do ... what you did?”
3. Scored the game-winning run on Candy Maldonado’s single to win Game 3 against the Atlanta Braves and he had three hits as the Jays won Game 6 in Atlanta.
2. Earned the Toronto chapter BBWAA player of the year honor both in 1991-92 -- recognized as the Jays best -- whereas Carter ranked higher in the BBWAA national vote for the MVP. Alomar was sixth both years, behind Eckerlsey who in 1992, with Carter third. He was behind Cal Ripken in 1991 while Carter was third.
Playing at Yankee Stadium he was seated beside Paul Molitor during the 1993 season when announcer Bob Sheppard said “ladies and gentlemen please extend a special Yankee welcome to Bob Hope.” Alomar asked Molitor: “Pauly, Pauly, what position did Hope play?”
1. Had 12 hits in the 1993 World Series, the same number as Molitor, who won the World Series MVP.