As I mentioned in the recaps, Omar Vizquel tied Luis Aparicio for the second most hits by a shortstop last night, notching his 2,674th career safety.* Unless
there’s either an unfortunate bus accident or a fortunate Fountain of Youth accident he won’t catch Jeter, who is 108 hits ahead at the moment and will quite obviously be playing this game after Vizquel retires. And yes, I know what you’re thinking, but Honus Wagner and Cal Ripken got a ton of their hits while playing other positions, so they don’t count for this particular record.
First off, congratulations to Vizquel, who is by all accounts a nice guy that many, many people like an awful lot. Especially in Cleveland where, between his brilliance at short and the fact that he angered Jose Mesa all those years ago means that Omar will never have to buy himself a beer when he’s in town, and that counts for something.
Second of all, I can’t help but wonder if this little accomplishment won’t be enough to get Vizquel into the Hall of Fame. I’m not saying he
necessarily deserves it. I’m wary in fact, and think that, despite all the leather and the longevity he’s simply a member of the Hall of Really Good.
But I do think that between him being a glove guy in a hitter’s era and the Luis Aparicio synchronicities — sharing the homeland, the number and now the hits — the voters will look kindly on him one
day. Maybe too kindly. Kind of an anti-steroids protest vote and a nostalgic vote all wrapped up into one. I think they’ve been talking themselves into it for a couple of years now, and having a milestone like this — even if he ends up being only second place on that particular list — may be tangible enough foothold with which the writers can gain purchase on this particular quest.
Which wouldn’t be the largest injustice on the planet or anything — I’m not sure where Vizquel stands on the numbers, but I’m guessing he wouldn’t be the worst Hall of Famer if that indeed comes to pass. But he’d be far, far from the best too, and with guys like Alan Trammell on the outside looking in, it would irk me in a non-insignificant way.
*As is the case with “Chisox” and “Bosox,” safety is one of those baseball terms you never see anymore. Used to be on the back of baseball cards all the time, but I can’t recall using “safety” for “hit” in ages. Let’s all try to bring that one back, shall we?