Introducing the Cleveland Indians’ Franchise Four candidates

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Omar Vizquel

credit: LAOpinion.com

Omar Vizquel was one of the most exciting shortstops to watch from the mid-1990s through the early 2000s.

Widely considered one of baseball’s premier fielding shortstops, Vizquel won eight Gold Gloves in his 11 seasons with the Indians — 11 overall. He tied Cal Ripken Jr.’s American League record for most consecutive games at shortstop without an error, going 95 games between Sept. 1999 and July 2000 without committing an error. His .985 career fielding percentage is the best among all shortstops in Major League Baseball history and he is the all-time leader in double plays made while playing shortstop. He, along with second baseman Roberto Alomar, combined to form one of the best all-time defensive duos in the history of the league.

Offensively, Vizquel ranks third in all-time hits for the position, behind only Derek Jeter and Honus Wagner, and has tallied the most sacrifice hits in the live-ball era.

During his time with the Indians, Vizquel helped the Tribe to two World Series appearances, losing to the Atlanta Braves in 1995 and the Florida Marlins in 1997. He hit .283/.352/.379 across 11 years in Cleveland, talying 1,616 hits in 1,478 games. He stole 279 bases, good for second-best in Tribe history behind only Kenny Lofton.

He is one of only 29 players in baseball history to have notched service time in four decades and, in May 2012, Vizquel became the oldest player to play shortstop in Major League history. He should get his nod to Cooperstown soon after becoming eligible, and was inducted into Heritage Park in the Cleveland Indians Hallf of Fame in 2014.

Next: Franchise Four

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