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Alomar and Blyleven elected to Hall of Fame

By Ben Walker

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 5 2011 5:05 p.m. MST

But Palmeiro failed a drug test and was suspended by Major League Baseball in 2005. The penalty came a few months after he wagged his finger at members of Congress and told them: "I have never used steroids. Period."

Former Rep. Tom Davis was the chairman of the House committee that held the March 17, 2005, hearing on steroids in baseball at which Palmeiro made that statement and McGwire refused to "talk about the past."

"The baseball writers are weighing the steroid thing. It's still got to play out, but at this point they seem to have factored that it into their decisions," Davis said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

The other leader of that committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., declined to comment through a spokesperson.

"Henry and I did our job. We tried to clean the game up a little bit and tried to help young people who were starting to use that stuff," Davis said. "The rest of it will be up to history."

Palmeiro recently reiterated the anabolic steroid that caused his positive test came in a vitamin vial given to him by teammate Miguel Tejada.

McGwire got 19.8 percent, a drop from 23.7 percent last year. This was his fifth time on the ballot, and first since the former home run champion admitted he took steroids and human growth hormone.

Juan Gonzalez, a two-time AL MVP implicated by Jose Canseco in steroids use, received 30 votes, just above the 5 percent threshold for remaining on the ballot next year.

Alomar and Blyleven will be joined by Pat Gillick at the induction ceremonies July 24 in Cooperstown. The longtime executive was picked last month by the Veterans Committee. Gillick helped earn his place with a trade that brought Alomar to Toronto.

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.

Blyleven's career stats have gotten a boost in recent years by sabermetricians who have new ways to evaluate baseball numbers.

"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.

Larkin (62 percent) and Jack Morris (54 percent) could get more consideration next year, when Bernie Williams is the top first-year candidate.

AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich in Washington contributed to this report.

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