October 12, 2010
Now that a second woman has accused Roberto Alomar of having HIV, it's probably time to give this sad story a look-over. After all, how often do these two worlds of mine -- HIV/ID (work) and baseball (lifetime hobby -- my wife would say that's a collosal understatement) actually meet?
For those unfamiliar with the basics: Alomar was a staggeringly good player, in the majors from 1988-2004, winning 10 Gold Glove Awards and making the All Star team 12 times. He very nearly was elected this year to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility (a very big deal), and all the baseball cognescenti think he's an eventual shoe-in since he's one of the best second basemen in history. For those who don't follow the sport, watch these plays 12, 30, and 57 seconds into this video for some examples of Alomar at his best.
That's the good part.
On the other hand, there was this strange spitting incident. And then, in 2009, an ex-girlfriend filed a $15 million lawsuit saying he lied about his HIV status; Alomar denied the charges (sort of), and was defended by his then girlfriend -- who later became his wife. Then last week, the wife sued Alomar with similar allegations.
I can't get into the "she-said, he-said" part, as I have no information beyond what's available in the press. But if we start with the premise that Alomar might have HIV, here are some general thoughts:
My view? I hope Alomar gets elected to the Hall of Fame next year -- from the baseball perspective he definitely deserves it.
And if he does have HIV, wouldn't that be something if he acknowledged it during his acceptance speech in Cooperstown.
Paul Sax is Clinical Director of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital. His blog HIV and ID Observations is part of Journal Watch, where he is Editor-in-Chief of Journal Watch AIDS Clinical Care.