Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven elected to baseball Hall of Fame
Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were chosen to the baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, in an election in which voters again rejected candidates closely identified with baseball's steroid era.
Alomar got 523 votes and Blyleven 463, with 436 of 581 votes (75%) required for election.
Rafael Palmeiro got 11%, in his first year on the ballot.
Palmeiro is one of four players in major-league history with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, along with Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray. His 568 home runs rank 12th on the all-time list, one spot ahead of Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and one spot behind Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.
Palmeiro also was the first star suspended after owners and players agreed to test for performance-enhancing drugs and penalize first-time offenders with mandatory suspensions.
Mark McGwire got 19.8%, in the first election after he admitted to using steroids. In his previous four years on the ballot, he received between 21% and 24%.
McGwire's 583 home runs rank 10th on the all-time list. No player eligible for election has hit so many home runs and been denied.
Aaron, Mays, Babe Ruth and Frank Robinson all have been elected. Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa have yet to appear on the ballot. Alex Rodriguez and Jim Thome remain active.
Blyleven won in his 14th and next-to-last year on the ballot, as voters rewarded him for his all-time rankings in strikeouts (fifth) and shutouts (ninth) rather than rejecting him for a 22-year career in which he made two All-Star teams and never finished higher than third in Cy Young voting. In his first two years on the ballot, Blyleven received 17.5% and 14.1% of the vote, respectively.
Fun fact: In 1985, Blyleven pitched 293 2/3 innings and completed 24 games. No pitcher has matched either feat since then, and no pitcher has completed more than nine games in a season since 2000. The Philadelphia Phillies led the major leagues in complete games last season, with 14.
Alomar, a 12-time All-Star, won a record 10 Gold Glove awards at second base. He also won four Silver Slugger awards, with a career batting average of .300 and 474 stolen bases.
Next year's Hall of Fame election may not produce any inductees. The list of players eligible for the first time is headed by the likes of Tim Salmon, Bernie Williams, Vinny Castilla and Brad Radke.
The complete voting can be found here
-- Bill Shaikin
Photo: Roberto Alomar. Credit: Ted Mathias / AFP.