Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven elected to MLB Hall of Fame

By Ben Walker

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 5 2011 2:10 p.m. MST

Smart, graceful and acrobatic on the field, Alomar also was guilty in one of the game's most boorish moments. He spit on umpire John Hirschbeck during a dispute in 1996 and was suspended. They later made up and Hirschbeck supported Alomar's bid for the Hall.

"I regret every bit of it. I apologized many times to John," he said. "I feel good I've had a good relationship with John."

Said Hirschbeck: "I'm very, very happy for him. It's overdue."

"I'm not going to comment on why he didn't get elected the first time. But I forgave him. Maybe the rest of the world has," Hirschbeck told The Associated Press by telephone.

Alomar drew 73.7 percent last year in his first try on the ballot. Blyleven had come even closer, missing by just five votes while getting 74.2 percent.

"Robbie was an incredible player. He was a pleasure to watch play the game and I am not saying that because he was by brother. He had all the tools and put them all into play," former Cleveland teammate Sandy Alomar Jr. said.

Alomar got his first major league hit off Nolan Ryan in 1988. Ryan was the last pure starting pitcher elected to the Hall by the BBWAA in 1999.

Blyleven, now 59, pitched against Alomar and his father, Sandy Alomar Jr.

It was quite a climb for Blyleven, who helped pitch Pittsburgh to the 1979 title and Minnesota to the 1987 crown. Many years ago, he drew barely over 14 percent in the BBWAA voting.

"I could not be happier if it was my own son," Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew said. "I played in the first game Bert pitched for the Minnesota Twins in 1970. ... I wish it wouldn't have taken so long but now that he is in, it's wonderful."

Barry Larkin and Tim Raines showed gains in this year's voting. Pete Rose received three write-in votes.

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