Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Pause the Topps countdown to salute the newest Met in the Hall of Fame, Roberto Alomar

We need to take yet another sidebar into our Topps top 60 countdown to recognize that yet another former Mets player being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Second baseman Roberto Alomar was named on 90 percent of the ballots to earn his spot among the immortals and undeserving Yankees.

Now there are going to be some people who will look at Alomar’s year and a half with the Mets and suggest that perhaps they weren’t the best in Roberto’s career.

These people point to things like his batting average for that time -- .266 and .262 –and note that the numbers are slightly below his career .300 average.

Being a Mets-cup-half-full kind of guy, I note that those averages are far better than the .180 he posted with the White Sox for part of 2004.

Roberto does not have a ton of Topps cards in his Mets uniform, but there are two that jump to mind.

The card from the 2003 base set shows Roberto in an action shot, looking great in his home pinstripes watching one of those 157 hits rocket into the field. Beautiful.

The other is the Heritage card from the same year, mimicking the outstanding 1954 set with both an action shot and head shot.

I couldn’t help but add two cards from other companies’ sets.

The Studio cards were usually beautiful, and there’s no disputing the grandeur of Roberto, bat on shoulders, in front of Shea Stadium’s neon players. Face it: No other stadium would look as good.

The other, from an Upper Deck set, loses points for the silver foil. But check out the photo. Alomar is so delighted to be a Met – giddy, in fact – that he has to check the logo on his cap to remind himself of just how glorious it is to be a part of the team. And can you blame him?

Did you know there are more Mets in the Hall than True Yankees? As Casey used to say, you can look it up!

Mets: Alomar, Tom Seaver, Willie Mays, Gary Carter, Nolan Ryan, Eddie Murray, Warren Spahn, Duke Snider Ritchie Ashburn, Rickey Henderson and Yogi Berra. From the front office we have George Weiss and Whitey Herzog. And, of course, Casey Stengel.

Now, True Yankees: Ruth, Gehrig, Berra. Possibly Casey.

Hey, don’t blame me because the Mets are inclusive and embrace all their players, and the Yankee fans limit their love to guys who earn their pinstripes through real or imagined Yankee glory.

To come up with this list, I looked at the Yankees who somehow got added to the Hall and subtracted the known cheaters (Whitey Ford), shameful booze hounds (Mantle), overrated (DiMaggio), people who bang my prized Hall of Fame ball on the table at card shows (Reggie), guys the owner tried to smear (Winfield), guys better known as Mets (Henderson), guys so ashamed of being Yankees that they left their Hall plaque cap blank (Hunter), guys added by the Veterans Committee decades after their playing career ended (Rizzutto, Lazzeri, Gordon) and so on.

Somehow John Franco was allowed to fall off the ballot this year, a scandal. But soon we'll be celebrating Mike Piazza's well-earned enshrinement.

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