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Posted January 5, 2011 | comments Leave a comment

Announcing this year's Hall of Fame members

Roll out the red carpet, ladies and gentlemen. We've got two new faces headed to Cooperstown.

Earlier today, Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, solidifying a 2011 class that's not much on quantity, but oozes quality.

First, congratulations goes out to Blyleven, who after first appearing on the ballot in 1998, finally got the call this year. After falling just 0.8 percent short of the total votes needed for induction a year ago, Blyleven finally received enough love to become a member of the Hall of Fame. I'm not old enough to remember him pitch, but his numbers are outstanding. Blyleven retired with a 3.31 ERA, ranks 14th all-time in innings pitched and is fifth all-time on the strikeout list with 3,701. He also has 287 career wins, good for 27th in the game's history.

As for his fellow inductee, Alomar's induction is a great day, not only for him, but for a guy who grew up watching him turn double plays with such grace on my childhood team. He'll undoubtedly be inducted as a Toronto Blue Jay, where he helped the feisty representatives from the North capture back-to-back World Series titles in the early 1990s. But to me, I'll always remember him at second base for the Orioles.

Alomar played in Baltimore for just three seasons, from 1996-98. During that stretch, however, he racked up two Gold Glove awards, finished in the top 20 in MVP voting twice and guided the Orioles to a wire-to-wire campaign in 1997. The Orioles haven't been back to the playoffs since.

His time in the Charm City wasn't all roses, though. During his first season with the O's, Alomar was involved in one of the game's ugliest player-umpire incidents. On Sept. 27, 1996, Alomar got involved in a heated exchange with umpire John Hirschbeck, who had called Alomar out on a called strike three. During the argument, Alomar spat into Hirschbeck's face, later claiming Hirschbeck had uttered a racial slur. It was a dark moment for the all-time great, but both have since moved on.

Today we are presented with another stellar class into baseball's Hall of Fame. We're now really starting to get into the classes composed of the players I really had an appreciation for and Alomar is up there on the list. Congratulations, boys. You've earned it.

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