Former Baltimore Sun Orioles writer Buster Olney told me back in the 1990s that he thought Roberto Alomar was the best all-around player in the game. I don't think I fully agreed with him at the time, but he definitely wasn't very far from correct.
We're talking about a time when Ken Griffey Jr. was in his prime and Barry Bonds could still wear a Size 7 3/8 cap, so there was room for debate over who was the best in the business, but Alomar was to second base what Ozzie Smith was to shortstop, and he was also one of the top all-around offensive players in either league.
That's why he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011 and why he needed just three seasons in Baltimore to earn a place in the Orioles Hall of Fame. He's also in the Toronto Blue Jays Hall of Fame if you're keeping score at home.
Robbie played second base like it was the ballet. He was so smooth and fluid that he made even the most difficult and acrobatic plays look easy. There were some great double play combos back in the 90s (Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker stand out), but seeing Cal Ripken and Alomar turn a tough double play was something to behold.
Of course, Orioles fans can't help but get nostalgic about Alomar because he was here for 1996 and 1997 playoff seasons, which were the last truly successful years of Orioles baseball until last year's turnaround team went to the Division Series.