Alomar elected to Orioles Hall of Fame
Second baseman to be inducted Aug. 2 along with former scout, executive Pries
SEATTLE -- Roberto Alomar can add another honor to an already large collection of them, as the former Orioles second baseman has been elected to the team's Hall of Fame.
The announcement, made Wednesday morning, also revealed that former Orioles scout and baseball operations executive Don Pries will be inducted as this year's Herb Armstrong Award winner.
"I wasn't expecting it, I was real surprised," Alomar said of the news, which he learned three days ago. "I'm honored to be part of such a group of elite people in the organization. Some great players have been inducted to that Hall of Fame. It's an honor that will stay with me the rest of my life."
Alomar, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011, is considered one of the best second basemen in baseball history. He spent three seasons with the Orioles, 1996-98, and over that span, the switch-hitter compiled a .312 batting average, 50 home runs and 210 RBIs in 412 regular-season games. Alomar's batting average with the O's is the highest in franchise history for players with at least 1,200 at-bats, and his .480 slugging percentage ranks ninth.
"It was a great time with the Orioles," Alomar said in a conference call with the media. "There were great fans, and I got to meet some great people. We had some great years and went to the playoffs. [I] wish we could have brought the World Series to Baltimore. We came short, but I've got some great memories."
In 1996, Alomar helped the Orioles to their first playoff appearance in 13 seasons, as the AL Wild Card, and set a franchise record with 132 runs scored while leading the team with a .328 average, 193 hits, 43 doubles and a .411 on-base percentage. It was his two-out, ninth-inning single that tied Game 4 of the Division Series against the Cleveland Indians and his home run that won it in the 12th inning to give Baltimore a series victory.
A two-time Gold Glove winner while with the O's (1996 and '98), Alomar won a Silver Slugger Award in 1996 and was named to the American League All-Star team in each of his three seasons with Baltimore. He was the Most Valuable Player in the 1998 All-Star Game in Colorado.
It was also in '96 when Alomar made headlines for an incident involving longtime umpire John Hirschbeck. Alomar became so enraged during a game on Sept. 27 that he spit in Hirschbeck's face. Alomar reiterated on Wednesday that the issue has long been resolved.
"In life, you make mistakes," he said. "I wish it hadn't happened. It's a cloud I have to live with, but me and John are great friends. He forgave me, and we are friends and I know his family and his kids. We moved on, and I hope some people can move on the way me and John did."
A 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner, Alomar also played for the San Diego Padres (1988-90), Toronto Blue Jays (1991-95), Indians (1999-2001), New York Mets (2002-03), Chicago White Sox (2003-04) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2004). Currently serving as a special assistant for the Blue Jays, the team portrayed on the cap of his Hall of Fame plaque, he still keeps tabs on what's going on at Camden Yards.
"The Orioles, first of all, they have a great manager and they've done a great job in their Minor League system in bringing guys up," Alomar said. "It proves that if you play the right way, you can win a lot of games. I believe the Orioles are on the right track with some great young players and an unbelievable manager that I have a lot of respect for."
Pries spent seven years with the Orioles, starting as an area scout in 1968 and going on to serve as director of player personnel and assistant to the general manager. He worked with GM Harry Dalton during much of the O's run of five playoff appearances, three AL pennants and the 1970 World Series title from 1969-74.
Pries left the organization after the 1974 season to help Major League Baseball design a computer system for the MLB Scouting Bureau, becoming director of the bureau in 1987. A year later he created the Scout Development Program, a curriculum designed to teach all facets of scouting. More than 1,000 people have completed the program, with 75 percent going on to be employed in baseball at some point.
As a player, Pries spent 13 seasons in the Minor Leagues and managed for five more before beginning his career as a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1960. He also scouted for the Cleveland Indians and Oakland A's prior to joining Baltimore.
Alomar and Pries will be honored at a luncheon at Camden Yards, sponsored by the Oriole Advocates, founders of the Orioles Hall of Fame, on Friday, Aug. 2. Tickets for the luncheon are available by calling Ann Serio at 410-247-2703. Tickets for the induction ceremony and the Orioles-Mariners game on Aug. 2 are available at www.orioles.com or by calling 1-888-848-BIRD.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.