Monday, June 8, 2009

OMAR VISQUEL INTO HALL? - Not on my watch

I ran across an interesting article on the merits of Omar Visquel being inducted into the Hall of Fame. The author makes a case for Visquel comparing him to other shortstops that have made the Hall. I will agree that Visquel is as good, if not better, than most of the shortstops that have made the Hall of Fame and that he is one of the best in the field but that does not mean he should be inducted.

First, induction to the Hall of Fame needs to be for the best players of their era. You must compare Visquel to other players at his position from the era that he played. For example it is not fair to compare Cy Young's and Walter Johnson's accomplishments as pitchers with pitchers from this decade. No pitcher would make the Hall of Fame because their numbers don't match up, (see records that will never be broken) as the game has changed so much. So we must compare Visquel with the likes of Ripken, Jeter, Rodriguez and Nomar...the players that played when he did. After doing this, we can see that Visquel is not considered one of the best players of his era at shortstop. He only has made 3 All-Star games in 21 years and was even traded in 93' by the Seattle Mariners for Felix Fermin and Reggie Jefferson (Seattle must not have considered him a Hall of Famer if they are willing to trade him for those two washouts).

Now, to Visquel's credit he did get better once traded to Cleveland but still he only batted over .300 once in his career and for his first 7 years he batted an average of .255. Not really Hall of Fame numbers. So what that tells me is that his longevity is the reason his numbers compare to some of the Hall of Fame shortstops.
But even if you throw out his first 7 years, his numbers are not great compared to most players of his era. In his last 13 years he has failed to bat better than .275 six of those years (batting .222, .246 and .241 in 3 of those). He is one of the best fielding shortstops but you also have to do something with the bat, especially when your colleagues are hitting for average, power and have also great gloves.

Lets compare Visquel to Jeter and Ripken (we will not even include Alex Rodriguez):

Visquel   .271 BA;   77 Hrs;   11 Gold Gloves;   3 All-Star Games
Jeter   .316 BA;   213 Hrs;   3 Gold Gloves;   9 All-Star Games
Ripken   .276 BA;   431 Hrs;   2 Gold Gloves;   19 All-Star Games

Visquel's numbers are okay but if you take out his Gold Glove awards you would see that he is nowhere near the best of his era.

Lastly, if your numbers don't match up you had better win a championship or two. Visquel lost 2 World Series while each of the other players in comparison won titles. Ozzie Smith won a title with St. Louis, Derek Jeter won many titles with New York, Cal Ripken won a title with Baltimore and even Nomar Garciaparra won a title. You could say Visquel is the Fran Tarkenton of baseball, good but just can't win a title. Not saying that a Hall of Famer has to win a title but if he doesn't then he better have the numbers to prove his worth. Omar Visquel is a quality shortstop that deserves to be considered one of the best fielding shortstops ever but should not be inducted into prestigious Hall of Fame.

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. 11 Gold Gloves at shortstop...during the same time that Ripken, Jeter, and Nomar were playing. The man was a virtual sponge up the middle. With his range, he made so-so pitchers look good by turning double-plays on balls that other shortstops couldn't even reach. I wish they kept stats on barehanded double-play put-outs. I would put him in the hall based on the strength of his defense. The great Ozzie Smith was never great with a bat, and like Visquel only hit over .300 once in his career. In fact, Visquel has a higher batting average over a 21 year career (.273) than Ozzie Smith did over a 19 year career (.262)...and the guy is still playing. He also nearly tripled the output HR output mustered by the Wizard of Oz over his career 77 to 28 (not that either of those are stellar numbers, but just to put it in perspective). Visquel also was no slouch on the base paths. He wasn't as prolific a base stealer as Ozzie, but definitely not an easy out.
    You also can't blame him for the Indians inability to win a title...he was a huge part in getting them as far as they got during their run in the '90's. Have him trade places with Jeter during that time, and I would probably be defending Jeter's merits to you. Give the man his due...he is one of the best--in my opinion the best defensive shortstop of his era...with above average offensive skills, and unparalleled longevity at the position. Remember, Cal Ripken played the last 5 years at 3B...where range is not so important. 21 years playing at shortstop in the major leagues--11 with Gold Gloves on a team that won 2 American League Pennants, sounds like a hall of famer to me.