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Omar Vizquel may have hit himself into the Hall of Fame last night

May 25, 2010, 8:20 AM EDT

Omar Vizquel headshot.jpgAs I mentioned in the recaps, Omar Vizquel tied Luis Aparicio for the second most hits by a shortstop last night, notching his 2,674th career safety.* Unless
there’s either an unfortunate bus accident or a fortunate Fountain of Youth accident he won’t catch Jeter, who is 108 hits ahead at the moment and will quite obviously be playing this game after Vizquel retires. And yes, I know what you’re thinking, but Honus Wagner and Cal Ripken got a ton of their hits while playing other positions, so they don’t count for this particular record.

First off, congratulations to Vizquel, who is by all accounts a nice guy that many, many people like an awful lot. Especially in Cleveland where, between his brilliance at short and the fact that he angered Jose Mesa all those years ago means that Omar will never have to buy himself a beer when he’s in town, and that counts for something.

Second of all, I can’t help but wonder if this little accomplishment won’t be enough to get Vizquel into the Hall of Fame. I’m not saying he
necessarily deserves it. I’m wary in fact, and think that, despite all the leather and the longevity he’s simply a member of the Hall of Really Good.

But I do think that between him being a glove guy in a hitter’s era and the Luis Aparicio synchronicities — sharing the homeland, the number and now the hits — the voters will look kindly on him one
day. Maybe too kindly. Kind of an anti-steroids protest vote and a nostalgic vote all wrapped up into one.  I think they’ve been talking themselves into it for a couple of years now, and having a milestone like this — even if he ends up being only second place on that particular list — may be tangible enough foothold with which the writers can gain purchase on this particular quest.

Which wouldn’t be the largest injustice on the planet or anything — I’m not sure where Vizquel stands on the numbers, but I’m guessing he wouldn’t be the worst Hall of Famer if that indeed comes to pass. But he’d be far, far from the best too, and with guys like Alan Trammell on the outside looking in, it would irk me in a non-insignificant way.

*As is the case with “Chisox” and “Bosox,” safety is one of those baseball terms you never see anymore. Used to be on the back of baseball cards all the time, but I can’t recall using “safety” for “hit” in ages.  Let’s all try to bring that one back, shall we?

  1. YankeesfanLen - May 25, 2010 at 8:34 AM

    For cryin’ out loud Craig, maybe you can do an ATH via James RThurber and Red Barber and put us all in the catbird seat.
    Or just use Old English or some language that Old Gator understands, which is pretty much anything.

  2. RickyB - May 25, 2010 at 8:43 AM

    I am the media contact for a college baseball team and still use safety in my releases. Gotta offer a variety of terms or the releases written after every game start to sound an awful lot alike. I’m trying to keep the term alive!

  3. Tom - May 25, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    Vizquel wore Davey Concepcion’s #13 for most of his career, not Aparicio’s #11. Ozzie Guillen wouldn’t give Vizquel the #13 off his back though when Omar signed with the ChiSox.

  4. Levi Stahl - May 25, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    I like the idea of replacing “no-hitter” with “no-safety.” Sounds more menacing, doesn’t it?
    I don’t like the idea of Vizquel in the Hall of Fame, given Trammell’s exclusion and the relatively tough time I fear Barry Larkin is going to have getting in. Vizquel’s career is impressive, no doubt, and he’s surprised and impressed me several times by keeping going when I thought he had nothing left, but I don’t see him as a Hall-of-Famer.

  5. largebill - May 25, 2010 at 9:21 AM

    Forget your fears, Larkin will get in within the next couple years. He started with over 50% which historically is indicative of a short wait. I will admit his wait may increase if he doesn’t get in before the glut of greats hit the ballot in a couple years.
    Trammell has been over looked, but it is misguided to blame Vizquel for Trammell being left out. The blame should go to the voters. The BBWAA has always been more impressed with lopsided players. What I mean is a player who does one thing extremely well is easier for the voters to recognize than a player like Trammell who was an all around very good to great player. His direct contemporary Ozzie Smith went in on the first ballot based primarily on his defense. Smith was better defensively than Trammell. However, Trammell was no slouch with the glove and was much more productive with the bat.

  6. Ron - May 25, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Will there be future references to the ‘old horsehide’; the ‘pill’; and ‘bingles’?

  7. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - May 25, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    I don’t like the idea of Vizquel in the Hall of Fame, given Trammell’s exclusion and the relatively tough time I fear Barry Larkin is going to have getting in. Vizquel’s career is impressive, no doubt, and he’s surprised and impressed me several times by keeping going when I thought he had nothing left, but I don’t see him as a Hall-of-Famer.

    Per Sean Smith’s WAR database (now on, woohoo!):
    Barry Larkin: 68.90 (Same as Jeter*)
    Alan Trammel: 66.90
    Omar Vizquel: 42.80
    I really don’t like all the GG references people are going to make, considering Jeter won a couple he shouldn’t have had, and of course Palmeiro won one when he played something like 28 games at first base.
    *interesting that Jeter has been a shoo-in HoFer for years, yet Larkin has the same WAR as Jeter does.

  8. Doug - May 25, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    I don’t know where 2700 hits stacks up against middle infielders – but it seems pretty impressive.
    I am pretty sure it is more than Ozzie Smith has though – that guy basically got in based on his back flips.

  9. Joe L - May 25, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    As a longtime Friend of the Feather and unabashed Vizquel fan, I feel qualified to opine that he is plainly NOT a Hall of Famer.
    He’s a classic your-favorite-player-as-a-kid ballplayer because he’s flashy with the leather, hits a little, and, more than anything, plainly loves playing baseball. Which is infectious and endearing, but is not necessarily the hallmark of a HOFer (see, e.g, Cobb, Ty).
    He’s your #1 inductee into Hall of Very Good and Hall of Fun Ballplayers and Hall of Quick Middle Infielders, but no more than that. I would love it if he got in, not only because of his days with the Tribe, but also because I’m a sucker for quick, flashy ballplayers like Aparicio and Ozzie. Davey Concepcion is my favorite player of all time for the love of crumbcake. But, frankly, he shouldn’t be in either. Which is a crying shame, but it’s not the Hall of Good Guys, and it’s filled with bums who were much better than Omar and Davey, and that’s just the way it is.

  10. mgflolox - May 25, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Omar certainly wouldn’t lower the standards of the HOF, but he’s also clearly less qualified than many other players who are still on the outside. I think it would be great if there was a way to honor the players in the class of Vizquel who were very good, but not the greatest of the great. My own personal favorites in this category are the players from the Swingin’ A’s of the early ’70’s (Bando, Campy, Blue, Tenace & Holtzman). That was my team when I was growing up in the East Bay. I think every fan has their own personal favorites that they know aren’t HOFers, but were still very good and were fun to watch.
    captcha: small cyprian?

  11. Pistol - May 26, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    Good all around ballplayer , but not Hall of Fame . In my eyes you have to be best of the best, and Omar while very good , not great. I’m sure there is plenty to argue about , but my criteria is you have to be great .

  12. pilon - May 26, 2010 at 5:48 AM

    Omar is a first ballot hall of famer, easy. you guys aren’t that smart. you all probably think brooks robinson was a slugger too.

  13. daveh - May 27, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    An anti-steroids protest vote???!!! Buddy, you’d better take a good hard look at his 2002 home run power stat at the tender young athlete age of 35, and then compare that number to his home run numbers preceding 2002 and following 2002. The only logical explanation is he was every bit as juiced as the rest of them.

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