I started playing organized baseball in 1991. I remember that year watching the Jays be pretty good, and watching Jack Morris pitch a 10 inning shutout in Game 7 of the World Series for the Minnesota Twins.
On Barrie Minor Baseball sign up day, my coach asked me what number I wanted to wear and I said 3...because the best baseball player I'd ever heard of was Babe Ruth (tip of the cap to the movie The Sandlot, because otherwise I wouldn't have known that.
That same year, the Blue Jays pulled off a deal with the San Diego Padres that sent Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff to the coast for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar. A pretty gutsy trade by a General Manager that would go on to become the architect of 2 championship teams in Toronto and one other in Philadelphia, and now Hall of Famer, Pat Gillick.
After watching Alomar on television all year in 1991, in 1992 at baseball sign ups, when #3 wasn't available, the choice was obvious, I was going to be #12 because Roberto Alomar was the greatest player I'd ever seen play the game.
I won't go on about how good he was for 5 years in Toronto. There'll be enough of that on the internet today. But I wanted to be there in Cooperstown today, and damn near got in the car and drove down last night (but was talked out of it by my loving and wonderful wife for fear of me not sleeping enough).
As a Jays fan, it'll be a long time before this happens again. Read every article, watch every video and if you have it, pop in the '92 and '93 World Series videos and watch them.
Robbie, you were the best player I'd ever seen. I grew up during a special time in baseball with players across baseball like Alomar, Gwynn, Molitor, Ripken, Yount and George Brett serving as my role models. I'll never forget pulling up on the couch and watching as much as I could, no matter what game, or what teams.
Every time I put on a jersey, I'll always wear #12 proudly. Not because I'm particularly good, but because I'm proud to have seen Roberto Alomar at his best, and those old videos never get old.
You're the best, and congratulations!