In last night’s Rangers-Astros game, Pudge Rodriguez broke the all-time
record for games caught. But that wasn’t the only notable achievement: Omar Vizquel tied Luis Aparicio for most hits by a native of Venezuela.
While most would agree that Pudge’s record was a tougher nut to crack,
being the Venezuelan hits leader is not nearly as narrow a feat as some
may suspect. Indeed, Vizquel has outhit a pretty impressive group of
people in outhitting his fellow countrymen. In addition to Aparicio,
Vizquel has Andres Galarraga (2333 hits), Dave Concepcion (2326), Bobby
Abreu (2011), Magglio Ordonez (1889), Ozzie Guillen (1764) and Tony
Armas (1302) in his rear-view mirror, among others.
There’s a debate out there about whether Vizquel is a legitimate
Hall of Fame candidate, and I suspect that he’ll get a lot more support
from writers than he otherwise might have due to the perception that he
was a little guy who made it in a steroid-fueled world. And that will
hold true regardless of there likely being no way of knowing if he ever
took steroids in his long career. Personally, I don’t think he’s a Hall
of Famer, and I’ll no doubt argue that he doesn’t belong at some point.
But when I and others do, don’t you dare mistake such arguments as disparagement of Omar Vizquel. He’s been really really good for a really really long time, and this record is just further evidence of that.