By Robert Dominguez
There are a myriad of reasons why former shortstop Omar Vizquel deserves to be in the Hall of Fame already, including but not limited to his nearly 2,900 lifetime hits, 11 Gold Gloves, all-time best fielding percentage, or 24-year career during which he was the standard bearer for defensive excellence at his position.
Vizquel also owns the record for most games played at shortstop, and on this day in béisbol, May 5, 2012, the Venezuela native took a major step towards that record by playing his 2,302nd game at short for the San Francisco Giants, tying Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. for third place on the all-time list.
Vizquel, who that year also became the oldest man to play short — at age 45 — and play it well, would eventually pass Luis Aparicio and Ozzie Smith, both of whom are also in the hallowed hall.
While his Cooperstown worthiness is an argument for another day — and really, there should be no argument — here’s one last tidbit for Cooperstown voters to chew on. Vizquel’s 2,877 hits is third for shortstops behind only Derek Jeter and Honus Wagner.
Yes, those guys are in the Hall, too.
Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls” and writer of the upcoming “El Salón: The Trials and Triumphs of Baseball’s Latino Hall of Famers.”
Photo: Dave Nelson — Under Creative Commons License