In 1996, Roberto Alomar came to the Orioles for the first of three seasons. He played second base so well that many people believe that no one in baseball had ever played the position as spectacularly.
For that season and the two that followed them, Alomar was elected to the Orioles’ Hall of Fame. He batted .328 with 43 doubles, 22 home runs and 94 RBIs.
Alomar played just three of his 17 seasons with the Orioles, and in the first two, 1996 and 1997, the team made the postseason. In 1996, the Orioles lost to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series in five games, and the next year was upset by the Cleveland Indians in six games in the ALCS.
“Great fans, great people. I had great years with them. I wish we could have brought the Series to Baltimore. We came up short, but I had some great memories there," Alomar said in a Wednesday conference call.
“There’s always regret when you don’t go. In any of the three years we could have won,” Alomar said.
The 1996 team was the first team to make the postseason since the World Series winners of 1983.
“I think I had a great year,” Alomar said. “I was doing everything that I could to bring the championship to the city of Baltimore, I was feeling good, I had no injuries, I was playing great. It was one of the best years of my career.”
Alomar credited the teammates he had for his success with the Orioles.
“I like to play hard. I like to go out there and win games. I got motivated by playing with the guys I played around, guys like Cal Ripken, Eric Davis, Raffy Palmeiro, Brady Anderson, all those great players. I think they taught me a lot. What I brought to the ballclub was a winning attitude and just go out there and every day and play hard, give it 100 percent and give yourself a chance to win games,” Alomar said.
Now in the front office of the Toronto Blue Jays, Alomar who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011 says he watches what the Orioles are doing.
“I believe that the Orioles have a great manager, knows the game real well, and they've done a great job in their minor league system. They've proven if you play baseball the right way, you can win a lot of games,” Alomar said.
The Baltimore Orioles are on the right track,” Alomar said.
Alomar was not elected to the Hall of Fame in his first try. He fell just short, and many blame the 1996 incident where he spat at umpire John Hirschbeck. He’s helped Hirschbeck raise money for charity and it’s long since forgotten.
“In life, you make mistakes and that was one of the mistakes I made. I wish it wouldn't have happened. It's a cloud that I have to live with,” Alomar said.
“Me and John are great friends. He forgives me. I know his family, I know his kids. I think sometimes media blows it out of proportion, but we move on. I hope some people can move on the same way me and John did. “