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Cleveland Indians great Omar Vizquel falls short of selection to National Baseball Hall of Fame for second straight year

CLEVELAND — Former Cleveland Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel failed to get enough votes for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame for the second consecutive year.

Vizquel earned 42.8 percent of the votes (182) in his second year on the ballot, falling short of the required 319 for induction. However, Vizquel got more than the requisite five percent to remain on the ballot and will be under consideration for the Class of 2020.

Vizquel improved his votes by five percent from his first to second year on the ballot.

The Class of 2019 was announced live on MLB Network Tuesday night, and will feature former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, Toronto Blue Jays/Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay, Seattle Mariners slugger Edgar Martinez and Baltimore Orioles/Yankees starter Mike Mussina.

The Indians acquired Vizquel in a trade with the Seattle Mariners after the 1993 season in exchange for first baseman Reggie Jefferson, shortstop Felix Fermin and cash, and the Venezuela native went on to spend the next 11 years making breathtaking barehanded plays in the middle of the Tribe’s infield.

Vizquel won eight straight Gold Glove awards at shortstop and appeared in three All-Star games (1998-1999, 2002) during his time with the Indians.

Although Vizquel was known more for his defensive wizardry than batting prowess during his time in Cleveland, the .283 hitter had a knack for clutch hits and got on base better than 35 percent of the time. Also, he proved willing and able of stretching anything into extra bases, as he swiped 279 of his 404 career stolen bases for an Indians team that featured power hitters like Albert Belle, Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez, as well as solid contact hitters in Kenny Lofton and Carlos Baerga.

Vizquel was the No. 2 hitter in the batting order for a franchise that won the American League Central Division six times, made seven trips to the postseason, twice won the AL Pennant, and came within an out of winning the 1997 World Series.

Former Cleveland Indians SS Omar Vizquel falls short of Hall of Fame induction 3

Cleveland Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel fields a line drive up the middle against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland on April 5, 2000.

Heather Hall

The soft-handed shortstop carried a .985 fielding percentage, despite having 11,961 defensive chances. He combined with several second basemen, most notably Baerga, a fellow Indians Hall of Famer, and National Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, to convert 944 double plays over his 11 years in Cleveland, an average 85.8 per season.

Combined with Alomar, Vizquel helped turn 275 double plays for the Indians from 1999-2001, and his 1,734 career double plays turned rank first all-time. They are 144 more than Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, who ranks second all-time for double plays turned by a shortstop (1,590).

Vizquel won one Gold Glove Award with the Mariners and two more with the San Francisco Giants for a career total of 11.

After his time with the Indians, Vizquel went on to play four seasons with the Giants (2005-2008), one with the Texas Rangers (2009), two with the Chicago White Sox (2010-2011) and his last, in 2012, with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Former Cleveland Indians SS Omar Vizquel falls short of HOF induction 10

Cleveland Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel (left) throws the ball for a double play as Florida Marlins outfielder Gary Sheffield slides toward the base during Game 3 of the 1997 World Series at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

Brian Bahr

Vizquel finished his career with 2,877 hits, the fifth-most ever by a shortstop. Only Honus Wagner (3,420), Yankees captain Derek Jeter (3,383), Cal Ripken Jr. (3,184) of the Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee’s Robin Yount (3,142) had more hits as a shortstop, and all but Jeter, who is yet to be eligible, are enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

A lifetime .272 hitter, Vizquel had 456 doubles, 77 triples and 80 home runs along with 951 runs batted in, 1,445 runs scored, 1,028 walks against 1,087 strikeouts, 404 stolen bases, 256 sacrifice hits and 94 sacrifice flies.

Vizquel led the league in sacrifice hits four times in his career (1997, 1999 and 2004 with the Indians and 2005 with the Giants).

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