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

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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.

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
AP Photo
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.