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Cleveland fans: Omar Vizquel is the best shortstop of all time

May 26, 2010, 11:10 AM EST

I know internet polls are unscientific and useless, and that internet polls on big newspaper sites are even worse than most, but this one still has my jaw dropping.  It’s from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the question is “who’s the best shortstop who ever played the game?.” Not the best Indians shortstop. The best shortstop, full stop.  The results as of about 10 minutes ago:
screencap.bmp.jpgI suppose it’s inevitable that a large number of people don’t realize that Honus Wagner was one of the top five players at any position in baseball history, but the fact that people consider Vizquel to be better than Ozzie Smith is downright astounding.

(thanks to Joe. L. for the heads up)

  1. whitemule4 - May 26, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    I guess when you live in Ohio you need to be delusional.

  2. niv - May 26, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    488 people voted.
    you could get a plurality of 488 people to agree on something too absurd for me to come up with right now.

  3. Mark Armour - May 26, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    My take away: many people still watch baseball as fans, and not as analysts. And thank God for that.

  4. Dan Murtaugh - May 26, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    Don’t forget that you have to factor in the Boston fans that misread “Omar” as “Nomar.”

  5. (Not That) Tom - May 26, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    Eh, I don’t think many people consider Nomar Vizquel to be all that special. Hell, he didn’t even make the big leagues.

  6. Hm. - May 26, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    Is it weird that I still consider A-Rod to be one of the greatest shortstops of all time?

  7. Charles Gates - May 26, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    I wonder where Lebron James would have ranked if he were included.

  8. Jonny5 - May 26, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Well Phillies fans all KNOW J-roll is the best short stop in the MLB and Polanco the best at 3rd.. ;>P See the point?

  9. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - May 26, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Somewhere in Heaven, Arky Vaughn cries
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/v/vaughar01.shtml

  10. Cheap Seat Chronicles - May 26, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    …a list without Jeter?!
    Really?! Color me intrigued.

  11. Ace - May 26, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    I don’t think this is a case of fans vs. analysts. I mean, it’s not like using OPS+ to argue that Dick Allen was better than Hank Aaron or something. You don’t need an advanced degree in sabremetrics to see that Visquel is not even in the same class as Honus Wagner. Let’s not celebrate willfull ignorance of long-cherished baseball history.

  12. BC - May 26, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    What?!?! No Rey Ordonez???!?!

  13. trampslikeus - May 26, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    fans say Omar or Oz or Rip; historians know it’s Honus. There’s no debate, it’s a complete no-brainer. Fun to debate, but it should be limted to post-1950 to make any sense. My “best since 1950?” Johnny Lemaster, of course…I’m a Giants fan and I just KNOW he’s the GOAT.

  14. Patrick - May 26, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    L-O-L.
    No Arky? No Jeter? No A-Rod?
    That list includes exactly TWO of the best 5 players at shortstop, Wagner and Ripken.
    A top 5 list is pretty clearly:
    1. Honus
    .
    .
    .
    .
    2. 3. 4. are Arky Vaughan, Jeter, and Ripken, I wouldn’t say I know the order, except that Jeter and Ripken are probably better than Arky by now
    5. Probably Rodriguez. Seriously. Ozzie couldn’t hit very well. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a deserving hall of famer, but he’s not actually an all time great, ‘cuz he wasn’t much of a hitter. Average out spectacular fielding with average-to-good hitting, keep him around a long time, and he’s a no doubter for the hall… But not an all time great.

  15. Jamie - May 26, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    Ernie Banks also had some pretty good years, as I recall. Well researched poll, this.

  16. trampslikeus - May 26, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    Arky was a great one, no doubt, but 96 career home runs does not get him into the conversation of best ever. Can’t ignore those batting averages, though…whew. .385 does NOT suck. He died way too young, too…and for some reason history has mostly forgotten him. So kudos to you for pulling that name.

  17. ecp - May 26, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    It’s a “what have you done for me lately” world. And, apparently if you’re in Cleveland, a “what have you done for Cleveland” world.

  18. john pileggi - May 26, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    No Jeter, no A-Rod, no Dave Concepcion?
    How about Mario Mendoza?

  19. Benny Blanco - May 26, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Good one BC

  20. Megary - May 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    “but the fact that people consider Vizquel to be better than Ozzie Smith is downright astounding.”
    Really?
    Are they all that different that you find it “downright astounding”? Put Concepcion and Aparicio alongside those two in a lineup and you’ve got the guilty one going free.

  21. 5iveoclock - May 26, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Isn’t there a Kanye West reference to be made here?

  22. Ron - May 26, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    Yeah, becasue hitting homeruns is the best way to determine the best player at a position known primarily for defense.

  23. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - May 26, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    Are they all that different that you find it “downright astounding”?

    Yes they are, both have extremely similar batting lines:
    Smith: .262/.337/.328 OPS+ 87 (19 seasons)
    Vizquel: .272/.338/.354 OPS+ 83 (22 seasons)
    However they differ greatly in career WAR:
    Smith: 64.60
    Vizque: 42.80
    And since they both have mediocre batting lines, all their WAR is essentially from their defense, and an almost 22 WAR gap is huge (that’s 3 monster seasons from guys like Utley, Mauer, Arod, etc). Vizquel had a career high in ’99 with a 6.6 and never broke 4 after that. Ozzie had a career high of 7.1 with one 6.3, three 5’s, and four 4 WAR seasons. Ozzie’s top 8 seasons are almost the same as Vizquel’s 22 year career!

  24. JayT - May 26, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    “but the fact that people consider Vizquel to be better than Ozzie Smith is downright astounding.”
    I’m not amazed that the home town crowd voted for Visquel. What astounds me is that more people voted for Ozzie Smith then for Ripken or Honus Wagner. Now that is just straight up madness.

  25. Utley's hair - May 26, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    Considering the source of this obviously scientific poll, Honus the Pirate and Cal the Oriole were more threatening to the Indians than Ozzie the Cardinal.

    That said, where is Steve Jeltz? I guess that one year in KC soured him to the author of the poll and the voters. –sigh– He would be a close second to J-Roll.

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