Remembering: Roberto Alomar

Whenever you hear the name Roberto Alomar  it's hard not to think about a moment from the 12 time All-Star's playing dominating days for us early during his hall of fame career.  The bomb he hit off Eck Sunday October 11, 1992 to tie the game in the top of the ninth in Oakland sticks out.  Your Toronto Blue Jays had been trying to beat the A's for years and couldn't do it.  We went on to win Game 4 in extra innings and took a three games to one lead in the American League Championship Series.  That was the TSN turning point, the momentum changer if you will, in our quest for the city's first World Series trophy.  In my opinion it was the second biggest homerun ever hit in team history.

Hearing his name for me personally, makes my mind wander back to the summer of 2008.  I remember it was July 28th, a regular Monday night not unlike any other.  My slopitch team, the Georgetown Goodtimers, were  scheduled to play our weekly game at 7:00pm in a very small town named Hornby located just off Steeles Avenue between Milton and Georgetown.  We always hated playing in this bandbox because the fences are short, the infield is never groomed and the light standards are low which makes picking up fly balls in the evening rather difficult.

I recall rolling into the parking lot and noticing a group of people loitering not far from the field.   I got out of my car, grabbed my gear and started to walk towards the diamond.  I glanced at the group of people in mid stride and thought to myself: hey, that guy right there looks a lot like Robbie Alomar.  Realizing immediately how far fetched of an idea it was that Robbie fucking Alomar was at a t-ball diamond in Hornby, I dismissed the notion completely and figured it was just the pre game festivities talking.  I continued my stroll to the bench and began preparing for the game.

As game time drew near, my teammates trickled in one by one.  Each and everyone of them saying that some guy by the parking lot looks like the ten time gold glove winner.  Then our leftfielder Mash arrived and  he was adamant that it was in fact the great Robbie Alomar.  Mash would routinely jog five kilometers one way to the games instead of drive,  so his mind was no doubt clear.

As the game began, we didn't care.  The questions were endless.....

What the fuck is he doing here?  Should we ask him to pinch hit?  Can this really be happening?  Should we ask him for autographs?  What can I get him to sign?

Our shortstop and clean up hitter, Ike Zelek, was the first to gain the courage and went out to where he was.  He returned with a big smile on his face, confirming our thoughts that it was the four time silver slugger.  Jimmy Triggs, the team super utilityman/DH, by chance wore his Jays jersey to the game.  He instructed some of the player's wives to head over there and get him to sign it with his classic phrase "Catch the taste".

I remember thinking to myself that I had nothing worthy to be autographed.  I asked our team rep and equipment manager,  The Clamp, for a unused game ball and he told me he may have one in his car.  Lucky for me, he had one and I proceeded over to Robbie's group meekly with a red sharpie in hand.  The 1992 ALCS MVP was very engaging and had no problem signing the ugly, yellow, flight restricted ball.  I can remember my hand was trembling when I was passing him the ball and sharpie.  I was starstruck, this guy was truly my hero growing up.  I was completely unprepared to meet The Best Toronto Blue Jay to ever wear the uniform when I got up that morning.  Collecting myself somewhat, I then mustered up the balls to ask him how he was enjoying his time in the lovely town of Hornby.  This prompted a laugh from all, I shook his hand and thanked him for the memories.  

Walking back to the diamond with my new treasure, I passed by Sammy in right field and begged him to let me keep it.  He laughed loudly at me and agreed, no doubt seeing that I would have not taken no for an answer.  

One final twist to this totally random story.  As it turns out a guy named Rob Alomar number 97 is on the roster of a Men's C team, in the Georgetown Slopitch League.  They played the 9 o'clock game that night.  Don't believe me?  Check for yourself here.

From this experience I learned one very important life lesson: Always have a new baseball on hand at all times.

For the record, I keep one still in the wrapper in my glove box and look forward to my next Blue Jay encounter.

Anyone out there have any chance meetings worth sharing?


  1. Wow - great story! What are the odds that Alomar would actually be there? I don't think I would believe it if I saw it.

    Personally, I've never had any encounters with any baseball players - I just saw Shaun Marcum walking down the street one time on Spadina.

  2. Hunter,
    Thanks for the kind words. It certainly was one of the few "pinch me" moments in my life.

  3. It's a bit different for me because I hob-nob with the baseball dudes all the time. Ok. I have a great job. One of the most intimidating guys I thought was Ernie Whitt. I had been in the same room as him a few times at baseball functions and he always seemed like a guy that wasn't approachable for an autograph, but after inducting him here at the Hall of Fame last year I learned he was an easy going great guy. All you have to do is ask.
    I also have something to tell you, but not yet!

  4. Did you ever find out why Roberto was there?

  5. @Anon,

    I believe he has family in the area. Perhaps cousins. I know that he has played a couple of games in the GSL in the Mens "C" or "D" divisions.

    Talk about a ringer.