NEW YORK -- Roberto Alomar made it into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on his second try with a resounding 90 percent of the vote, and nobody could've been happier than his father.Sandy Sr., now 67, played the part of the proud papi on Thursday, seated in the front row at a news conference introducing his son and Bert Blyleven as members of the Class of 2011 elected this year by eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. "This is something very special," he told MLB.com on Thursday. "As a family, you know how close we are. You know how hard we worked at whatever we did. You know how hard Robbie worked as a kid. So I think he's very deserving. I'm very proud that he joined this elite group. Hopefully he'll continue to do something good with his life." The younger Alomar is a 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove-winning second baseman, and he's a chip off the old family block as far as his father is concerned. He's the third native of Puerto Rico to gain membership in the Hall, joining the immortal Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda.
Alomar will be the first player to go into the Hall boasting the Blue Jays logo on his plaque. A .300 lifetime hitter, Alomar batted .307 in his five Toronto seasons and was a member of the 1992 and '93 teams that won consecutive World Series.The elder Alomar played 15 seasons in the Major Leagues, mostly as a middle infielder, batted .245 and made one All-Star team. Father and mentor to a generation of ballplayers, he was also a longtime big league coach. As far as influence is concerned, Roberto said he looks no further than his father and his mother, Maria, who was not in attendance on Thursday. "I always wanted to be just like my dad. I always wanted to be a ballplayer," Roberto said on Thursday. "Thanks to him, I am what I am today. My mom was my mentor. My dad was my advisor and friend. He continues to do that today." Sandy's two sons grew into highly accomplished big league ballplayers. Sandy Jr. played 20 years and was a six-time All-Star catcher in his own right. He was the MVP of the 1997 Midsummer Classic played at Cleveland and is now back with the Indians as a coach. Younger brother Robbie made seven stops in his 17-year career. The two were signed by the Padres and came up through that organization when their father was the team's third-base coach. They played together for two seasons (1999-2000) in Cleveland. Roberto also played for the Orioles, Mets, White Sox and D-backs. Sandy Jr. wasn't at the news conference. He was reached by phone at his home in Chicago, where he said he was running around from activity to activity with his daughter. But Sandy Jr. said he watched the broadcast on MLB Network and that his heart was certainly with his younger brother. "It's a heck of an accomplishment," he said. "It means that every little single drop of sweat meant something. All that work in the Minor Leagues, all those stops in the Major Leagues, they all come to light when you make it to the Hall of Fame. He's a special player. Always was a special player." Alomar Jr. is 44 now and played his last big league game in 2007. His brother will turn 43 on Feb. 5 and retired in Spring Training of 2005 when he no longer had the goods to make what was then the lowly the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They have an older sister, Sandia, 45, who lives in Puerto Rico, where she is raising her family. All of them will be together when Robbie is inducted in Cooperstown on July 24, along with Blyleven, Pat Gillick, the architect of the those World Series-winning Toronto teams, Ford C. Frick Award winner Dave Van Horne and J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Bill Conlin. Sandy Sr. played his last game for the Rangers in 1978. He was a coach for the Mets until 2009 and managed their rookie league team this past season. He doesn't have a position now, and after 50 years in baseball, he may finally retire. But he will go out knowing that his job is complete. "They just emulated what I did," Sandy Sr. said about his two sons. "I was very fortunate they became better than what I was. And now, having Robbie at such an early age in the Hall of Fame, that's a big thrill."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.