Roberto Alomar, pioneering stat guy to be inducted into Hall of Fame

Leave a comment

No, not the one in Cooperstown, because the people that run and vote for it are too addle-minded to do such manifestly smart things. It’s the Canadian one doing the good work:

Former Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Roberto Alomar will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this summer. Alomar missed out on induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., by eight votes earlier this month. He was selected for the Canadian version on Thursday. The 12-time All-Star will be enshrined in St. Marys, Ontario, along with longtime reliever Paul Quantrill, former Minnesota Twins owner Calvin Griffith and statistical guru Allan Roth.

The thousand injuries of the National Baseball Hall of Fame I have borne the best I could, but now that the one north of the border is wise enough to induct (a) one of the best second basemen of all time; and (b) the first full-time stat guy to ever be employed by a team, I’m just going to give up on Cooperstown and throw my support behind the one in St. Mary’s, Ontario.

And while I’m happy to see Alomar honored, it’s Roth’s induction that really makes me happy. For those who have never heard of him, Roth was hired by Branch Rickey in 1947 to keep stats for the Dodgers’ top farm team, the Montreal Royals, and later went on to Brooklyn and Los Angeles, retiring in the mid 60s. While surely some players and coaches identified and appreciated the importance of OBP and platoon advantages before him, Roth championed them in the Dodgers front office, helping turn a simple observation into an important part of a winning organizational philosophy.

Why couldn’t Alomar make it into Cooperstown in his first year? What are the odds that we’ll ever see Bill James in the National Baseball Hall of Fame? Why shouldn’t I start stumping for Paul Quantrill?  The answers to these questions will probably shape how I feel about the Hall of Fame for some time.

Imagine the Cleveland baseball club in green

Getty Images
12 Comments

Everyone talks about getting rid of Chief Wahoo but nobody does anything about it.

Well, that’s not totally true. As we’ve noted, Major League Baseball and the Indians are slowly doing something about it. But the thing they’re doing — a slow phase-out of Wahoo, hopefully in a manner no one really notices — is likely going to anger just as many as it pleases. Such is the nature of a compromise. Such is the nature of trying to do the right thing but being afraid to state the reason why they’re doing it.

A bold move would be a lot more interesting. Not just getting rid of the logo, but totally rebranding the Indians in a cool and exciting way that would inspire people to buy in to the new team identity as opposed to merely lament or accept the abandonment of the old one. To that end, a man named Nick Kendall came up with a super fun and super great-looking redesign and rebranding of the Indians over the weekend.

Kendall, who is not really a big baseball fan but who has spent a lot of time thinking about uniforms and design, went back to 1871 and Cleveland’s first professional baseball team, the Forest Citys (yes, that’s how it was spelled). He took their logo — an interlocked F and C — and built an entire set of uniforms out of it and some aesthetic choices of his own. The new color scheme is a dark green and white. He even includes two alternate, solid-jersey designs. All of it is done in a great looking mockup. Really, go check it out and tell me that’s not cool.

I like it for a couple of reasons. Mostly because the uniforms just look fantastic. I love the design and would love to see a team with that kind of look in the game. We have too many reds and blues. Green is woefully underused in Major League Baseball and it’d be good to see some more green around.

Also, as Kendall notes, and as soccer shows us, the “[city] [mascot]” name construction isn’t the only way to approach team names, and so the name — Forest Citys, or some derivation of it — would be unique in baseball. Maybe it’s be “The Cleveland Forest Citys/Cities.”  Maybe “Forest City B.C.” would be a way to go? Maybe, as so often happened with baseball teams in the past — the Indians included — the nickname could develop over time. It’s certainly preferable to the option a lot of people point to — The Cleveland Spiders — which (a) evokes the worst baseball team in history’ and (b) sounds like something a 1990s NBA marketing team would come up with.

If the Indians are going to get rid of Chief Wahoo — and they are — why not do something fun and new and exciting?