Also to be honored over Induction Weekend: Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing; longtime Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins voice Dave Van Horne (left) with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting; and longtime executive Roland Hemond, who will receive the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.
Class of 2011
Meet the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2011: Bert Blyleven, 287-game winning pitcher who ranks fifth on the all-time strikeout list; Roberto Alomar, 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winning second baseman; and Pat Gillick, a one-time minor-league pitcher with a photographic memory, who spent 27 years as a big-league general manager with four franchises. Cooperstown will be buzzing on Sunday as these former players take their place in the Hall.
Blyleven pitched in 22 seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and California Angels and compiled a 287-250 record with a 3.31 ERA, 242 complete games, 60 shutouts and 3,701 strikeouts in 4,969 1/3 innings.
By the numbers
RHP Blyleven pitched a no-hitter on Sept. 22, 1977, for the Rangers against the Angels and shares the AL single-game record for the longest one-hit complete game of 10 innings June 21, 1976. He was a key part of two World Series champions, the 1979 Pirates and the 1987 Twins.
Land o' Lakes
Netherlands-born Blyleven had his number 28 retired by the Twins on Saturday. Blyleven was picked on 79.7 percent — it takes 75 percent to reach the shrine. This was his 14th time on the ballot and his career stats have gotten a boost in recent years by sabermetricians who have new ways to evaluate baseball numbers. He played for five teams in his 22-year career, finding success with each. But his heart belongs to Minnesota, where his now works as a broadcaster, and he'll enter the Hall as a Twin.
Roberto Alomar, whose father and brother, both named Sandy, played in the majors, was on Toronto's World Series champions of 1992 and '93, was the Most Valuable Player of the 1992 American League Championship Series and MVP of the 1998 All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver. Here, Robbie records a put-out of his brother.
Alomar was not a first-ballot Hall of Famer, as his stats indicated he should have been. What held him back? No mystery here. His Hall chances were negatively impacted by the spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck on Sept. 27, 1996. Alomar accepted full blame for the incident and has apologized for the act — repeatedly — to the fans, the Orioles, team officials and, most importantly, to Hirschbeck. A federal judge ordered Major League umpires back to work after they voted to strike if Alomar, who spit on Hirshbeck during this confrontation, was allowed to play in the postseason.
As FOXSports.com's Bob Klapisch wrote, the span of 2B Alomar’s career was so breathtaking from 1988-2004, you need to include shortstops to give context to his achievements. Alomar batted .300 with a .371 on-base average and a .443 slugging percentage over a 17-season career with the Padres, Blue Jays, Orioles, Indians, Mets, Chicago White Sox and D-backs. The switch hitter totaled 2,724 hits, 1,508 runs, 504 doubles, 80 triples, 210 home runs, 1,134 runs batted in and 474 stolen bases. On July 31, the Blue Jays will retire Roberto Alomar's No. 12, marking the first time a former Jay's number will be raised to the rafters in the franchise's 35-year history.
Leaving his stamp
Gillick oversaw the building of the Toronto Blue Jays from an expansion team in 1977 to back-to-back world championships in 1992-93. He helped Baltimore to two postseason appearances in four years on the job. He oversaw four 90-win seasons in four years in Seattle, including an AL record 116-win season in 2001, and the first two postseason appearances in franchise history.
Bringing home a championship
Gillick's nine years in Philadelphia were capped by the 2008 World Series, only the second in the history of the franchise. Here, Gillick presents 1B Ryan Howard with his World Series ring.
If he builds it...
Gillick made his career building teams from the bottom up, and did it with success. He becomes the 32nd team executive to be voted into the Hall of Fame, but just the fourth who could be described as truly a team architect. "Ed Barrow, George Weiss and Branch Rickey now have a fourth for bridge,’’ Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said.