Roberto Alomar and the Greatest Second Basemen in Toronto Blue Jays History
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Since their debut in 1977, the Toronto Blue Jays have had many great players pass through their organization. Hall of Famers like Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor, Phil Niekro and Dave Winfield have all worn the blue bird on their cap at one point in their careers, yet none are enshrined as Blue Jays.
Soon, for the first time ever, a player will be inducted into Cooperstown as a Toronto Blue Jay. That player is Roberto Alomar.
The ceremony will take place Sunday, July 24, 2011 and then the following Sunday (July 31, 2011), he will become the first player to have his number retired by the Blue Jays, other than Jackie Robinson whose No. 42 was retired league wide in 1997.
It's a very proud time for Blue Jays fans. Not only for fans old enough to remember the back-to-back championships in '92-'93 either, but for younger fans as well.
In honor of Roberto Alomar, here are the best second basemen in Toronto Blue Jays history.
5. Homer Bush
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Surprised to see him make the list? Me too.
Not only does he have one of the greatest baseball names in Blue Jays history, Homer Bush just so happens to be one of the greatest second basemen as well.
That year, Bush hit .320 with 26 doubles and 32 stolen bases in just 128 games. And if it wasn't for Roberto Alomar winning his eighth Gold Glove in nine years, Bush may have also taken home some hardware, too.
The good times were short-lived however, and Bush hit only .215 the following year while dealing with a hip injury.
He rebounded slightly in 2001 (with a .306 average), but the hip injury continued to be a problem. By May 2002 he was released by the Jays, clearing the way for No. 4 on our list.
In 305 games with the Blue Jays, Bush hit .283 with 45 doubles, 100 RBI and 54 stolen bases...good enough to be considered the fifth-best second baseman in Toronto Blue Jays history.
4. Orlando Hudson
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Known just as much for his mouth as he is for his glove and bat, Orlando Hudson was a fan favorite while manning second base for the Blue Jays.
Before being traded in 2005, Hudson had some solid seasons with Toronto. In 462 games with the Jays, the one affectionately known as "O-Dawg" hit .270 with 88 doubles, 23 triples, 35 home runs and 201 RBI.
His best season in Toronto was also his last. In 2005, he was recognized for his defensive wizardry by winning a Gold Glove after ranking first in putouts for a second basemen (302), fourth in assists (391) and first in fielding percentage (.997).
While his most memorable moment as a Blue Jay may be when he called then Toronto General Manager J.P. Ricciardi a "smooth cat" among other things, O-Dawg did enough on the field to earn his way into the top five.
3. Aaron Hill
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Despite his recent struggles and rumors surrounding his inevitable departure, Aaron Hill ranks as the third-best pivot in Blue Jays history.
Many had Aaron Hill pegged for stardom when, in 2007, he hit .291 with 47 doubles and 17 home runs. But it was a David Eckstein elbow that threatened to derail Hill's career.
He missed all but 55 games in 2008 after suffering a severe concussion in the collision with teammate Eckstein. He eventually worked his way back, and in 2009 had the greatest season ever for a Blue Jays second baseman not named Roberto.
After hitting only 28 home runs with 188 RBI in his first four seasons in the big leagues, Hill exploded in 2009 with 36 home runs and 108 RBI. He finished sixth in AL MVP voting and made his first and only All-Star game appearance.
With even one more season like 2009 on his resume, Hill could have made No. 2 on this list. Unfortunately for Jays fans, Hill has fallen upon hard times and his days in Toronto could be numbered.
2. Damaso Garcia
Damaso Garcia played with the Blue Jays from 1980 to 1986. He is a two-time All-Star (1984-1985) and recipient of the AL Silver Slugger award for second baseman in 1982, arguably his best season as a pro.
That year, Garcia hit .310 with 32 doubles while stealing 54 bases, becoming the first Blue Jay ever
to top 50 in a season. Over the four-year span of 1982-1985, Garcia hit .295 and averaged 174 hits, 28 doubles and 40 stolen bases per season.
Garcia is notorious for his low walk totals (just 130 walks over an 11 season, 1,032 game career), and infamous for his short fuse.
In 1986, his last season with the Jays, Garcia set his hat and uniform on fire in the clubhouse bathroom, garnering the ire of Blue Jays fans and management.
While his on-field dedication was often questioned, his selflessness since his retirement has been praised. Since 1998, Damaso has run a baseball camp for hemophiliac children in his native Dominican Republic.
1. Roberto Alomar
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And it's not even close.
Not only is Alomar the greatest Blue Jays second baseman of all-time, he is possibly the greatest second baseman of all time.
The soon-to-be Hall of Famer racked up more Gold Gloves than any other second baseman in history (10, including five with the Jays), made 12 straight All-Star appearances (six with the Jays).
He batted over .300 nine times (four times in Toronto) and stole 30 or more bases eight times (four times as a Jay).
During his five years in Toronto he batted .307 and averaged 30 doubles, 68 RBI and 41 stolen bases per season.
His best season as a Blue Jay came in 1993 when he was one of three Blue Jays to finish in the top six in AL MVP voting (John Olerud and Paul Molitor were the others). That year he hit .326 with 35 doubles, 17 home runs, 93 RBI and 55 stolen bases.
His most memorable moment came that same year, when he hit a game-winnig home run off Dennis Eckersley in the 1992 ALCS.
The photo of Alomar, arms raised wearing his neon-green and blue Cooper batting gloves, is the second most iconic moment in Blue Jays history (next to Joe Carter's World Series clinching home run the next year).
In 2011, after narrowly missing induction into Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility, he made the cut after garnering the third highest vote total of all time (90 percent).
Roberto Alomar is, by far, the greatest second baseman in the 35-year history of the Toronto Blue Jays.