Toronto has had its share of Hall of Famer’s suit up for the Blue Jays over the past 35 years. Knuckleball’er Phil Niekro got into 2 games before being shipped back to Atlanta in 87, Dave Winfield drove in the World Series clinching runs in 92, Rickey Henderson and Paul Molitor played key roles in securing Toronto’s 2nd World Series Championship in 93, Roberto Alomar became the first player to be enshrined as a Blue Jay and Pat Gillick, architect of the power house teams of the of the 80’s and 90’s has also joined the ranks.
Blue Jays fans can name a handful of should/will be Hall of Famers including Joe Carter, Carlos Delgado and Jack Morris to name a few. Another name that (in the future) can be added to the list of former Blue Jays looking to get into Cooperstown is Omar Vizquel.
Coming into the 2012 season, Vizquel has played a collective 23 years in the Major Leagues compiling a .272/.337/.353 line to go with 11 Gold Gloves and 3 All Star appearances. The switch hitting Infielder has recorded 2841 Hits & scored 1432 Runs while playing for 5 teams throughout his career.
Hall of Fame Credentials:
- Most consecutive games (95) without an Error at SS.
- .985 Career Fielding percentage at SS. #1 all time.
- #1 all time games played at SS (Passing Lou Aparicio)
- 2nd most all time hits as a SS. (Derek Jeter leads)
- Tied for lowest season total of Errors (3 in 2000)
- Member of the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Hall of Fame
After spending the past 2 seasons with the White Sox, 44 year old Vizquel signed with the Blue Jays under a Minor League Contract with an invite to Spring Training. Knowing that he would be competing with guys like Luis Valbuena and Mike McCoy, Vizquel arrived in Dunedin ready to make an impact and break camp with the big league team.
As of Saturday, March 24th, Vizquel is hitting a surprising .429 (6th highest AVG on the team) while contributing with the glove and providing a veteran presence on a team that’s stocked full of young, impressionable talent.
There’s no doubt that Anthopoulos brought in Vizquel to act as a mentor for guys like Lawrie and Escobar while providing sure handed defense whenever called upon. Anything else would come as a bonus for the team and manager John Farrell who at one time, squared off against the switch hitting infielder (Vizquel hit .286 in 14 AB’s vs his future Manager).
It should be noted that Vizquel has stats from Toronto’s former home of Big League baseball, Exhibition Stadium. During the 3 games he appeared in at the Ex, Vizquel recorded a Run, a Hit and walked once. His playing career pre dates Skydome, how about that.
Vizquel has mentioned that this season would be his last. As a Blue Jay fan, I’m honored to have a future Hall of Fame candidate play out his final season in the show wearing a Toronto uniform. His influence will be felt up and down the line up as his work ethic and attitude will unquestionably have a positive effect on this team.
(Urban Dictionary – Don)
The top man, a Playa, a G,
The one people look up to etc