A few days ago, I wrote an article questioning whether or not Nomar Garciaparra was Hall of Fame-worthy.
In comparing Nomar to his contemporaries, I also realized that Omar Vizquel has had a potentially Cooperstown-worthy career. So let's take a look at Vizquel's career.
Originally signed by the Mariners at the age of 17 out of Venezuela, Vizquel was in the majors by the age of 22.
It was not until his final season with the Mariners in 1993 that he won his first Gold Glove, but there would be many more to follow.
Ten more, to be exact. Vizquel was hands-down the best at the position throughout the 1990s, winning the award every year from 1993-2001.
However, there is more to Vizquel's career than just defense.
In the article about Garciaparra, I compared his offensive numbers with some of the best hitters ever to play the shortstop position.
In Vizquel's case, I think the most accurate comparison would be to Ozzie Smith and Luis Aparacio.
In 19 seasons, Smith's line was as follows: .262 BA, 2460 Hits, 1257 Runs, 402 Doubles, 69 Triples, 28 HR, 793 RBI, 580 SB
In 18 seasons, Aparacio's line was as follows: .262 BA, 2677 Hits, 1335 Runs, 394 Doubles, 92 Triples, 78 HR, 904 RBI, 506 SB
In 20+ seasons, Vizquel's line is as follows: .273 BA, 2699 Hits, 1378 Runs, 432 Doubles, 73 Triples, 78 HR, 904 RBI, 389 SB
Smith has the most Gold Gloves of all time at the position with 13, followed by Vizquel with 11, and then Aparacio with nine. However, this is not always the most accurate gauge of a player's defensive abilities.
Vizquel also holds an advantage in career fielding percentage, as his mark of .985 is significantly better than Smith (.978) and Aparacio (.972).
So when you compare him to the two Hall of Fame shortstops that would fall into the "defensive shortstop" category he seems to be in the same class as those guys.
So what do you think? Personally, I think he was hands down the premier fielder of his era, and he was a good enough hitter to put up some solid career numbers, and that should be enough to get him in.
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