During the 1990s, the Orioles had several players who stood in at second base. Billy Ripken, Harold Reynolds, and Mark McLemore all played second base and had notable statistics.
But one man stands out from the rest: Roberto Alomar.
He played second base for the Orioles for three seasons: 1996-1998. During those three seasons, he earned two Gold Glove Awards, a Silver Slugger, and three All-Star berths. He also earned MVP votes in two seasons.
Alomar was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, on his second ballot. He earned 90% of the vote, and is wearing a Blue Jays cap on his plaque. He’s the first player to enter the Hall wearing a Blue Jays cap.
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With the Orioles, Alomar batted .312/.382/.480. He hit 22 home runs in 1996. That same year, he hit 43 doubles and scored 132 runs. His OPS+ was 136 that same season. Alomar, and the rest of the Orioles, were a force to be reckoned with that season. In his three seasons with the O’s, he earned a WAR of 12.5.
In 1996, he turned 107 double plays with his partner, Cal Ripken Jr. While the two only got to play together for the 1996 season, they were compared to the all-time best double play combination of Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammel from the Detroit Tigers. Ripken went to third base in 1997 as Mike Bordick took over the daily spot at short, ending the Alomar-Ripken combo.
The 1996 season was special for Orioles fans who got to see a bit of magic every game as Alomar shared the field with Ripken and Hall of Famers Eddie Murray and Mike Mussina. Other top players from that year include Rafael Palmeiro, Bobby Bonilla, and Brady Anderson.