CLEVELAND — Ahead of receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at next week's Greater Cleveland Sports Awards, Indians legend Sandy Alomar Jr. spent some time with WKYC's Jim Donovan in a FaceTime conversation on Wednesday.
The former Tribe catcher, who spent 11 of his 20 Major League Baseball seasons in Cleveland, now serves as the team's first-base coach.
"It's been a wonderful experience being in Cleveland all these years," Alomar told Jimmy.
The Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Cuyahoga Community College, will be handed out to Alomar during the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards ceremony at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel Grand Ballroom on Feb. 6.
Alomar Jr. spent 11 of his 20 seasons in Major League Baseball with the Indians, who acquired him, as well as Carlos Baerga and Chris James in a trade with the San Diego Padres for outfielder Joe Carter prior to the 1990 season.
"I remember telling Carlos at the time that we are being traded for a big-time power hitter," Alomar recalled. "We knew we had some big shoes to fill, but the fans embraced us right away and that made it easier on us."
In 985 regular-season games over his 11 years with the Indians, Alomar Jr. registered 944 hits, including 194 doubles, eight triples and 92 home runs, along with 416 runs scored, 453 runs batted in and 165 walks against 386 strikeouts.
Alomar Jr. had a .277 batting average, along with .315 on-base, .419 slugging and .734 on-base-plus-slugging percentages with the Indians. Over 49 games in 10 playoff series with the Indians, Alomar Jr. had 37 hits in 173 at-bats, including nine doubles, five home runs and one triple, along with 28 runs batted in, 17 runs scored and seven walks.
Alomar Jr. was the 1990 American League Rookie of the Year, a 1990 Gold Glove Award winner and six-time AL All-Star, with his most memorable showing coming in the 1997 Midsummer Classic at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Alomar Jr. belted a two-run home run over the 19-foot high wall in left-center field, which turned out to be the game-winning hit and won him All-Star Game Most Valuable Player honors. Alomar Jr. was the first player in MLB history to earn All-Star Game MVP honors in his home park.
"My son Marcus was seven at the time and after the game, he jumped on the field and yelled, 'That's my trophy, give me my trophy Dad!' To this day, he still has that trophy," laughed Alomar as he recalled the magical All-Star night.
That was one of several memorable moments for Alomar Jr. in 1997.
In 125 games, Alomar Jr. registered career highs with 146 hits, 37 doubles, 21 home runs, 83 runs batted in and a .324 batting average, along with .354 on-base, .545 slugging and .900 on-base-plus-slugging percentages.
He belted a game-tying homer off of Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera with the Tribe four outs away from elimination in the American League Division Series that fall.
"I don't even know how I ran the bases after that," Alomar said. "I was so happy just to get an opportunity to get that guy (Rivera) out of there."
Alomar Jr. will be the sixth current or former member of the Indians to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards.
Alomar Jr. will join a group that includes Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller (2004), former owner Richard Jacobs (2005), former pitcher and announcer Herb Score (2006), broadcaster Tom Hamilton (2014) and former infielder/manager Mike Hargrove (2017) as former Indians who have been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
WKYC's Jim Donovan received the award in 2016.
You can watch the entire interview in the player above