Is Omar Vizquel a Hall of Famer without a qualifier?

Last night Omar Vizquel drove in the go ahead run in a game where the White Sox would ultimately lose in extra innings to the Mariners.

I was watching the game and the graphic above caught my eye.

Omar Vizquel is tied for 50th on the all time hit list.

I had to rub my eyes for a second to make sure I didn’t see that incorrectly.

There have only been 49 people with more hits than Omar Vizquel in the history of the major leagues.

Only 2 players in the history of baseball who are eligible for the Hall of Fame have that many hits and are not in Cooperstown.

Vada Pinson and Harold Baines, who was Vizquel’s teammate in Cleveland and now is one of his coaches for the White Sox.

Now earlier I wrote about how if Harold Baines got 7 more hits in each of his seasons, he would have had over 3,000 hits and be in the Hall of Fame.

With 117 more hits, Omar Vizquel could pass Baines.

But Baines was a pure hitter. He was a DH for almost his entire career and even as a hitter, he very rarely was considered to be one of the elites.

Vizquel has been one of the elite shortstops for a generation.
He has the 11 Gold Gloves to prove it. When I wrote about who should be in the Hall of Fame in 2007 and 2009, I put Omar Vizquel on the edges saying in 2007:
“His Offensive numbers haven’t even come close, but has there been someone who has been such an overwhelming DEFENSIVE prescence as Vizquel for the past 17 seasons? That should count for something!”

And in 2009:
“His defense was so good he might make it in. It would be nice if he was more of a threat with the bat.”

Well if he can be listed among Hall of Fame names in the hit column with pure hitters, then maybe he belongs in!

And Luis Aparcio and Ozzie Smith and Bill Mazeroski are all in the Hall mainly for their gloves… and Vizquel has surpassed them in the hit column.

This is his 22nd season and his 4th decade in the bigs and can still pick the ball. And while his .276 average isn’t making Josh Hamilton nervous yet, it does show that he probably has a few more years left.

Maybe even 251 hits.

Either way, consider myself sold.

Omar Vizquel belongs in the Hall of Fame.

I say it and I stand by it.

Follow sullybaseball on Twitter

Andre Dawson and Eddie Murray… reunited

Andre Dawson is now in the Hall of Fame and he will be forever linked to heroes and legends of Cooperstown… like Eddie Murray.

Now why of all of the Hall of Famers did I pick Steady Eddie?

It’s simple, really.

Andre Dawson was the Rookie of the Year in 1977 for the National League.
Eddie Murray was the American League Rookie of the Year the same year.

So often the Rookie of the Year is given to a flash in the pan (did someone say Joe Charboneau? Marty Cordova? Pat Listach?) or players who start off looking like superstars but flame out (Fred Lynn, Mark Fidrych, Fernando Valenzuela, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Nomar Garciaparra).

But that got me thinking… several Hall of Famers have won the Rookie of the Year… but how often has the Rookie of the Year in both leagues given to a future Hall of Famer.

Now let me preface this by saying I am talking about people CURRENTLY elected to the Hall of Fame. No doubt Derek Jeter, Mike Piazza and Albert Pujols will all get it… but they aren’t in yet, so I’m not bringing them into the discussion.

Now as I type this, I don’t know the answer… so let’s find out!

For the first few seasons there was only one award… but in the 1950s, both leagues awarded a rookie.

And looking up on Baseball Reference, the greatest website in the world, I see it has happened only two times before.

1956
NL – FRANK ROBINSON, Reds… AL – LUIS APARICIO, White Sox

1967
NL – TOM SEAVER, Mets… AL – ROD CAREW, Twins

So we’ve had it happen in the 1950s and the 1960s and 1970s.

It won’t happen with players from the 1980s.

The National League winners are filled with players who started off brilliantly but were derailed by injuries or drugs.

The American League Rookie of the Year winners from the 1980s yielded a single Hall of Famer, Cal Ripken, a few flashes in the pan (like Charboneau and Ron Kittle) and of course Canseco and McGwire.

The 1990s have Derek Jeter in the American League winning in 1996… but it is safe to say Todd Hollandsworth, the NL winner that year, doesn’t have a realistic shot.

So when will there be a fourth set of Hall of Fame Rookie of the Years from the same year?

It’s looking like 2001… Ichiro and Pujols both broke in… and as of this writing, they both seem like locks.

(It’s too early to tell for 2009 winners Andrew Bailey and Chris Coghlan!)

article_url = location.href;article_title = document.title;

Follow sullybaseball on Twitter