I realize this isn’t the sexiest Hall of Fame discussion surrounding the San Francisco Giants…but here goes.
I was watching the Red Sox take on (and beat) the Giants on FOX today and the announcers starting talking about whether or not Omar Vizquel is a Hall of Famer. Without hesitation…ALL three of the announcers agreed that he would make it in on the first ballot.
They compared his numbers (both offensive and defensive) to Ozzie Smith. They talked about the Gold Gloves (Omar has 11…9 straight at one point, compared to Ozzie’s thirteen consecutive). They even had a highlight reel cut together showing how both of them saved runs for their respective.
During the telecast, they even quoted former Cardinals skipper Whitey Herzog, who once said something along the lines of…“(Smith) might not knock in 100 runs in a season, but he’ll save you that many”. That could probably be said of Vizquel as well.
They did their homework. Good work, FOX statisticians!
As mentioned, the most compelling case FOR Vizquel’s enshrinement is the similarity between his numbers and those of Smith. Both slap hitters when okay career averages (.274 for Omar, .262 for Ozzie). Both of them amassed a good amount of hits (2500+ for Omar, 2460 for Ozzie). Should Omar play until he is 45 (he is 40 now), he’ll be at 3000 and virtually a LOCK for Cooperstown. Not bad for a guy who is in the lineup solely for his glove.
Omar SHOULD wind up his career as the leader for games played at shortstop. Not too shabby. When the Hall came calling for Carlton Fisk (a second ballot guy ONLY because of the competition he was up against)…EVERYONE cited his longevity at one position. Vizquel is already the career leader for being part of most double plays than any other fielder.
Yes, I, too was amazed that someone keeps track of that shit.
Fielding percentage…how ‘bout it? This is what the writers will look at. The awe inspiring fielding and Gold Gloves SHOULD speak for themselves (sorry Jim Kaat), but when push comes to shove…the Hall will look to those already enshrined for a basis of comparison.
Omar has a career .984 fielding percentage…nice! Compare that to the slick fielding “Wizard of Oz” (.978) and Omar’s inclusion is starting to look pretty good. Compare it to Luis Aparicio (.972) and Pee Wee Reese (.962) and you should start reserving room for Omar’s plaque. Omar also shares the American League record for consecutive errorless games at shortstop with Cal Ripken, Jr.
This guy is a no brainer, right?!?
The biggest reason why Omar Vizquel DOESN’T get elected into the Hall of Fame is that he will be GREATLY overshadowed by the other names on the ballot…there just aren’t enough votes to go around. When Omar is eligible for Hall consideration he could very well be going up against Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Greg Maddux, Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Curt Schilling, Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa (I know…I know) Trevor Hoffman and Jeff Kent.
Honestly, I could probably add a dozen more names to that list…but not ALL of them would be as Hall worthy (and each of them is) as the ones I mentioned. Furthermore, you can’t rule out long time ballot standards getting their fair share of the votes. Hell, Bruce Sutter FINALLY made it in on his thirteenth attempt!
Granted, add Vizquel’s name to the above list and he is the only shortstop. HOWEVER…you should figure that when it is time for his name to come up for selection, Derek Jeter should have staked his claim as the “Best Shortstop EVER” and the gold standard for the position will be a 6’3” pretty boy with 300 career bombs. Not a 5’9” Venezuelan who couldn’t get his hands on Jessica Biel’s ass if he paid for it on eBay.
But I digress.
When it is all said and done…Omar Vizquel will find his way into Cooperstown. Not on the first ballot like Ozzie Smith…maybe not even on the fifth or sixth ballot like Luis Aparicio. But rather, thanks to the Veteran’s Committee…he’ll probably end up getting in like Pee Wee Reese did.
It’ll be a shame too…he was better than all three.