Saturday, February 26, 2011
#618) ROBERTO ALOMAR
Roberto Alomar joined the New York Mets when he was traded from the Cleveland Indians along with Mike Bacsik and Danny Peoples in exchange for Alex Escobar, Jerrod Riggan, Matt Lawton, Billy Traber, and Earl Snyder on December 11, 2001. The future Hall of Famer came to the club with great expectations. "Finally I get a chance to wear this uniform," he said. "I'm excited. It's like being a little kid again."
Alomar made his Mets debut on April 1, 2002 at Shea Stadium. Robbie drove in two of the runs in the 6-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. "It was a beautiful thing here," he said. "The fans make it warm. It was a great opening day. This is an opening day I will remember for a long time. I'm excited. You can feel the excitement of the people. They know their game well. The way they talk, they know their game. It was beautiful."
The remainder of the season in New York was very challenging for Alomar. He struggled throughout the year and ended with 11 home runs, 53 RBIs, and a .266 batting average. The veteran's lowest batting average since his rookie season. In the hopes that the star would return to his past form the Mets elected to pick up their $8 million option to keep Alomar for 2003. "I've done a lot of thinking, and I know I'm ready for New York now," Roberto said. "I know what to expect now with the fans, the media, just New York in general. I'm not just going to have a good year, I'm ready to have a great year."
Mets general manager, Steve Phillips was fired following a weak start to 2003. Consecutive last-place performances for the New York club required changes. Alomar had continued his decreased performance since joining the Mets, and found himself a target of the rebuilding process. Ending with mid-season marks of 2 home runs, 22 RBIs and a low .262 batting average. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Edwin Almonte, Royce Ring and Andrew Salvo on July 1, 2003. "I wouldn't be surprised if he had a good second half," said Jim Duquette, the Mets interim general manager. "The team, maybe, I didn't really feel comfortable with the situation," said Roberto. "Sometimes, teams don't work for you. I think the Mets weren't the right team for me."
Alomar played till 2004, but was unable to return to his previous All-Star levels during that time. The Puerto Rican native was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011.
"There's a lot of speculation about people saying I never cared about playing in New York," Alomar said. "That I was dogging it in New York. I want to say to those people that I really cared when I was in New York. I really loved New York. The New York Met organization was great to me."
Roberto Alomar signed his card in the set for my good friend, Jessie at the MAB Celebrity Services Show in Secaucus, New Jersey on January 29, 2011.