This upcoming Tuesday the MLB Hall of Fame will announce their class of 2019. Based on the early voting numbers, pitchers Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay seem to be locks as does DH Edgar Martinez. While not a lock, add pitcher Mike Mussia as a strong possible inductee this year. There are a few others hovering right under the 75% of the vote that’s needed to get in.
And then there’s Omar Vizquel.
Omar played for 24 seasons, 11 of them with the Cleveland Indians. He started his career with the Seattle Mariners until he was traded to the Indians for SS Felix Fermin and 1B/DH Reggie Jefferson. During his 11 seasons in Cleveland, he made his only three All Star games and won eight consecutive Gold Gloves. 1999 was probably his best season. He batted .333 with 66 RBI and had 42 stolen bases.
For his career, Omar batted .272, accumulating 2,877 hits, scored 1,445 runs and had 404 stolen bases. He has the most double plays turned for a SS with 1,734 and the 2nd highest career fielding percentage for a SS with .985. He may not have the one number that should put him in the Hall of Fame, but his career is comparable to a few players already in like Ozzie Smith, Luke Appling and Luis Aparicio.
Last year was Omar’s first time on the ballot and he received 37% of the vote. Currently, Omar is at 37.2% but we should all expect him to go up, hopefully to right around 40 – 45%. He has gained votes from last year and even though he lost a few, the gains outweigh the losses and that should help him get into the 40 – 45% range. Much like his career, for Omar to take the next step in the Hall of Fame process, he will need a strong showing in the middle part of his time on the ballot to make it in.
You may be asking yourself, “Why is it important for Omar to get to 40 – 45% of the vote this year?” Part of getting into the Hall of Fame is a numbers game, every year you need to go up. Assume that the four players mentioned above all get in. Additionally, 1B Fred McGriff will be off the ballot as this is his 10th and final year on the ballot. Next year, will be OF Larry Walker’s last year on the ballot, so whether he gets in or not, he will be off the ballot and the only lock of 1st timers is SS Derek Jeter. Then by 2021, which will be Omar’s 4th year on the ballot he should be right near the vote total needed to get into the Hall of Fame and with many players getting in as well as a few dropping off the ballot, Omar is well positioned. Additionally, 2021 does not have the big names like Rivera or Jeter and should allow a few of the guys under the 75% to get in.
For this year’s ballot, getting Omar Vizquel in the Hall of Fame was a long shot. The good news is that he is in a good spot to make it into the Hall of Fame in the next few years. Even if it’s not in 2021, he will still have six years to make it in. Let’s hope that Omar will be Cooperstown bound very soon!