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Omar Vizquel

Omar Vizquel

Position(s):
SS, 2B, DH, OF, RF, 3B
Nicknames:
Little O
Born:
April 24, 1967
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 9"
Weight:
175 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-03-1989 with SEA
Allstar Selections:
1993 GG, 1994 GG, 1995 GG, 1996 GG, 1996 HA, 1997 GG, 1998 GG, 1999 GG, 2000 GG, 2001 GG, 2005 GG, 2006 GG

Intro

The best defensive shortstop in baseball in the 1990s and early 2000s, Omar Vizquel was a valuable member of six Cleveland Indians division-winning teams. Venezuelan-born Vizquel won nine consecutive Gold Glove Awards for his prowess with the leather. He was especially adept at fielding balls barehanded, throwing on the run and handling pop flies well into the outfield and in foul territory behind third base. Like Ozzie Smith, Vizquel made himself into a pesky hitter and stoled bases at a decent clip. He swiped home as many times as any player of his generation and was also one of the best bunters in baseball.

Quotes From

"The eyes of the world were focused on every move we made. Unfortunately, Jose's own eyes were vacant. Completely empty. Nobody home. You could almost see right through him. Not long after I looked into his vacant eyes, he blew the save and the Marlins tied the game." — Omar on teammate Jose Mesa's performance in Game Seven of the 1997 World Series against Florida. "I didn't say he was a choker the whole season. I always said we never would have gotten to the World Series without Jose Mesa." — Vizquel on Mesa again.

Replaced By

To be determined yet, but the Indians replaced him with Jhonny Peralta.

Best Season

He won his seventh Gold Glove Award and helped the Tribe to their fifth straight AL Central title. Vizquel had his best offensive campaign, batting .333 with 191 hits, 112 runs scored, 36 doubles, 66 RBI, 42 stolen bases, and more walks than strikeouts. He was 16th in AL MVP voting.

Factoid 1

In 2005, Omar Vizquel was the 3,000th strikeout victim of Greg Maddux.

Factoid 2

On August 31, 2004, when the Indians drubbed the Yankees 22-0 in the most lopsided shutout in American League history, Omar Vizquel tied a league record as he collected six hits in a nine-inning game.

Transition

April 1, 1984: Signed by the Seattle Mariners as an amateur free agent; December 20, 1993: Traded by the Seattle Mariners to the Cleveland Indians for Felix Fermin, Reggie Jefferson, and cash; October 29, 2004: Granted Free Agency; November 16, 2004: Signed as a Free Agent with the San Francisco Giants.

Strengths

Defense. Vizquel's .984 career fielding percentage (through 2005) is the highest of all-time for a shortstop.

Weaknesses

Batting right-handed. Vizquel is just a .235 hitter from the right-side and his slugging percentage is below .300 against lefties. A small man, he's also been prone to wearing out. Throughout his career, he has struggled offensively in the months of August and September, for example.

Notes

Vizquel enjoys sculpting and painting in his spare time, and he's also been known to play the guitar and drums. He enjoys salsa music.

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Tagged:
All Star, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Gold Glove, Hall of Fame, Hispanic Heritage Baseball Hall of fame, Hutch Award, Omar Vizquel, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, heart and hustle award, willie mac award

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