The Case for Omar Vizquel to Enter the Hall of Fame

The Case for Omar Vizquel to Enter the Hall of Fame

The question arose should Omar Vizquel be inducted into MLB Hall of Fame? Early ballots that have been released have shown that checkmark next to Vizquel’s name.

For me, the answer is an easy YES. Omar was an elite defender. He has the highest fielding percentage from the shortstop position of all time at .9847, won 11 Gold Gloves (second highest among shortstops), and had 9 seasons with less than 10 errors and 130+ games played (3 seasons 5 or fewer errors with 140+ games played). With some of the games smoothest hands during his time playing (and still today…don’t believe me…see for yourself… he racked up the most double plays turned at shortstop. Add in his longevity (24 seasons) as a pro and he’s checking the necessary boxes to get in the Hall.

Defense was obviously Omar’s claim to fame and will be his lasting legacy. Naysayers will harp on his offensive skills, but comparatively to those that are patterned in his style, he definitely holds his own. Offensively, he can be compared to the likes of Ozzie Smith, Pee Wee Reese, Luis Aparicio, Luke Appling and Nellie Fox (All of which are Hall of Famers). Coming it at #5 all-time among shortstops with 2,877 hits, he is 1 of only 11 shortstops with 2500+ hits. His .272 lifetime average may not look as impressive some of the .300+ hitters in the hall, but then again Ozzie compiled a lifetime average 10 points lower than Omar’s, while Omar slugged 52 more home runs over his career and we all know where the Wizard of Oz ended up landing. Ranking in the top 100 in runs scored and top 80 in stolen bases all-time doesn’t look too shabby for a “defensive specialist” either.

When comparing him to other players on the ballot I take into account a couple of factors. First steroids. If you’re cheating or have been linked to cheating…you’re not getting in and that eliminates half the ballot. With Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen, much like Omar, they played great defense but they were middle of the order hitters and should have produced better power numbers. The offensive game can be said for Bobby Abreu and Raul Ibanez. Todd Helton was really tough call for me. I love the average, love the defense, but the fact that he only had five seasons of 100 or more RBIs while hitting at Coors is very disappointing from the first base position.

Ultimately, my ballot starts at Jeter and ends at Vizquel (with a little Wagner and Walker mixed in). Omar was the ultimate pro in my opinion. Not the flashy guy, not the guy in the headlines, not the guy in a controversial position. A grinder. A guy who loved what he was doing and did it well because of that love and passion. His longevity in the league and defensive prowess make him a must for me and for Cooperstown.