Roberto Alomar owns two World Series rings and participated in seven postseasons, so the Hall of Famer certainly understands the value and joy of winning.
Yet his most recent baseball experience concluded with a .111 winning percentage, and the childhood favorite of new Met Francisco Lindor sounded as proud of that as any of his other accomplishments.
“Every day that we played, we improved, and by the end, all the kids played great,” Alomar, 52, told The Post of his RA12 club from the Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rico’s winter league, which posted a 2-16 mark in a COVID-shortened schedule. “That was my motive. I wasn’t looking to win. I was looking for them (with the idea of) if their career stops here, at least they can say I played pro baseball in Puerto Rico.”
Alomar, who long has been active in youth endeavors for his native land, added to his credentials by becoming a team owner in the winter league. He employed his father Sandy Alomar, who played for the Yankees and coached for the Mets among many other stops at both gigs, as the general manager; his brother Sandy Alomar Jr., the former All-Star catcher who managed the Indians in Terry Francona’s absence last season, as a technical advisor; former White Sox outfielder-infielder Andy Gonzalez as manager; and former Met Carlos Baerga as bench coach, among many other hires.
“When I was 17 years old, I came to this league in winter ball and they gave me a chance to play. I used it as a platform to learn the game when I played and I did really good,” Alomar said. “I used that platform as an experience because that platform was competitive baseball. It helped me develop myself as a player.
“(Later), when I used to come here to the ballpark, I saw veteran guys play. I didn’t see them giving chances to the young guys. They always put them in reserve. I talked to my dad and said, ‘We don’t develop young guys. They come here and all they do is sit around. They don’t play baseball. I decided to do a professional team with only young guys.”
The oldest player on RA12’s roster was 26-year-old free agent Eddy Reynoso, who spent four years (2015-18) in the Red Sox’s minor-league system, and of the 39 players on the greater roster, 17 were born in 2000 or later. Most are affiliated with Major League Baseball teams but none had major-league experience. If you look at the league’s website, you’ll see familiar names like Christian Colon and T.J. Rivera and Hector Santiago on other teams.
Puerto Rico is well represented in the big leagues right now by Lindor, his new teammate Edwin Diaz, Cubs shortstop Javier Baez and Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, among others, yet the greater a pipeline it can become, the better.
“It’s all opportunity,” Alomar said. “The more you play, the more you learn.”
He’s in this for the long haul, with the hope that the coronavirus vaccine will allow for a longer schedule, paying fans and scouts in the stands and more sponsors next year. That, no matter the team’s record, would be a big win.”
Let’s catch up on Pop Quiz questions. Both came from the late Jan Bottone of Wellelsey, Mass.:
— Name the future Baseball Hall of Famer who plays a version of himself in the 1938 film “Rawhide.”
— Name the three legendary Yankees (they all have their uniform numbers retired) who appear together in one scene of the 1962 film “That Touch of Mink.”
Rest in peace, Josh Evans, the chairman and founder of Lelands auction house. While I never had the privilege of meeting Josh, he clearly was revered and loved by those who knew him.
Your Pop Quiz answers:
— Lou Gehrig
— Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris
If you have a tidbit that connects baseball with popular culture, please send it to me at [email protected]