I remember when Roberto Alomar came to the Blue Jays. I was upset. I didn’t know who this guy was, and my favourite team in the world just traded away Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff! Come on I was 12 years old and I didn’t know anybody BUT the Blue Jays, so when 2 of the favourites are traded away a kid could be pretty angry. It didn’t take long though until I was all aboard the Alomar train.
1991 I was there to see numerous heroics from Alomar in the field. It wasn’t like today where 162 games are on tv but when they Jays were on I was watching. I have my foam letter J coloured blue that they handed out in 1992. I watched Roberto put his hands up in the air after he hit the most important home run in Blue Jays history. I watched Alomar score in the bottom of the 9th in game 3 of the World Series while he did the tomahawk chop. I wore my Blue Jays World Series Championship t-shirt to the games in 1993.
I was there on September 27, 1996 sitting in section 113 with my brother when the infamous spitting incident took place. We didn’t know what had happened at the time, it wasn’t until we turned on the Fox Saturday Baseball pre-game show the next day when we found out about the spitting but we cheered when Alomar was thrown out of the game. How could you not? It always helps your team when the opponent loses one of their best.
I listened on the radio as the Blue Jays played the Tampa Bay Rays in a Grapefruit league game in 2005 as Jerry Howarth informed us that Roberto Alomar had decided to retire and it was at that point that the healing between he and the great city of Toronto began.
I saw alot of Roberto Alomar’s great moments both as a Blue Jay and as the opponent. I saw some not so great moments in his career and his life too. I am most proud however that I was able to share his joy this past Sunday as he accepted his induction to Cooperstown, not in person but on TV the same way I shared in many of his great on field moments. I’m proud that I was able to witness the first ever Blue Jay induction, and I will be full of pride this coming Saturday as I search out his newly hung plaque and take my picture with it when I make my first trip to Cooperstown.
On Sunday Alomar thanked us for our loyalty and support as we won two world series together, today I want to thank him for being a huge part of our success. I want to thank him for bringing respect and credibility to the city of Toronto in the eyes of Major League baseball. I want to thank him for all the fun and excitement he brought to us throughout his career. While I can’t be there Sunday when they retire his number I hope the Rogers Centre will be packed, and I will try to find some way to watch it from Cooperstown.