GameDaySpotsBlog.com has already discussed the merits of many players who have been on Hall of Fame ballots and whether or not their credentials are enough to get them in. Today we look Omar Vizquel who will pop up on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next January. Does the star shortstop deserve to get it? Does he fall short of deserving the honor? Or do the idiot writers who get to decide who gets in not have any idea either way? Here’s our argument both for, and against, Omar Vizquel.
The Case For Omar Vizquel
Nowadays people who vote for the Hall of Fame want flashy numbers and big milestones to warrant their vote into Cooperstown. That is why it took Tim Raines 10 years to get in, when his play justified him being inducted far earlier. And while Vizquel has the hitting numbers worthy of a great player, it’s his play that earns his rightful spot in the halls of Cooperstown.
Omar Vizquel was best known for his defensive wizardry, and while it wasn’t quite up to the standards of the actual Wizard, Ozzie Smith, he is without a doubt the 2nd best defensive shortstop in history. His 11 Gold Gloves, the third most by any infielder in history, tell us exactly what the rest of baseball thought of Vizquel in his prime; that there was no better fielder in all of baseball.
For proof, I give you this incredible stat: Vizquel had three seasons in which he played at least 140 games and made five errors or fewer. That’s as many seasons like that as all the other shortstops since 1900 combined.
And one more thing. Despite Vizquel’s offensive limitations, he still finished with 2,877 hits. Which means had Vizquel played another season he would have joined the impressive 3,000 hit club, and this conversation will be moot.
What does that mean in terms of Vizquel’s future? It means that very few players in the history of the game have accomplished as much offensively and defensively as the former shortstop great. To prove that, here’s the complete list of players with as many hits and Gold Gloves as Vizquel: Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and that’s it. If that’s not Hall of Fame company than I don’t know what is.
The truth of the matter is, when comparing Vizquel’s offensive numbers to those in the Hall of Fame he not only stacks up, but blows nearly everybody out of the water.
The Case Against Omar Vizquel
The Baseball Hall of Fame is the institution that honors the best baseball has given us, and Omar Vizquel is not quite at that level. While there is little doubt the former Indian shortstop was one of the best defenders of his era, his other numbers were sub-par for a player trying to receive baseball’s highest honor.
Here is one of those sub-par numbers: Omar Vizquel’s 2,877 hits ranks just 40th all-time.
Why is that a sub-par stat? After all there are more than 40 position players in the Hall of Fame. It’s sub-par because for a player who played for 24 years, and who ranks 12th in games played, the former shortstop should be much higher than 40th on this list. And with Vizquel’s mediocre power he ranks a lowly 129th in total bases.
But that lack of power at the plate is probably negated by his “small ball” skills, right? Wrong. Vizquel ranks outside the top 70 in batting average, on-base-percentage, steals, and runs scored. And only one time in Vizquel’s 24-year career did the shortstop rank inside the top 10 in hits in the league (1999).
Of course these hitting woes are something we already know. They are something that at least every all-star voter knows, and that is why Vizquel was only selected to 3 all-star games during his 24-year career; because the shortstop’s good glove work wasn’t able to make up for his poor work at the plate. And the same rings true for the Hall of Fame. Vizquel’s glove can only take him so far, and then the hitting drags him down below the level of a true hall of famer.