Cleveland Indians: Vizquel and Hafner look to enter Cooperstown

It’s the time of year when we all yell at each other over the MLB Hall Of Fame voting. This year, the Cleveland Indians have two big names on the ballot.

When you make the argument for some of the greatest shortstops of all time, you don’t often hear Omar Vizquel’s name tossed around out there. But if you want to get into the argument, the former Cleveland Indians shortstop is undoubtedly one of the best defensive catchers of all time.

Omar sat on the ballot for the first time last year, and we all had a good idea that he wouldn’t be a first-ballot entry. Not with how contentious the ballot was last year. Not when his teammate and arguably one of the greatest Cleveland Indians of all time, Jim Thome was also on the ballot.

Now Omar will be joined by another Indians teammate: Travis Hafner. Hafner is certainly not on the level as the guys who made it into the hall last year, and Omar Vizquel has arguably played more consistent baseball for a longer time. But Hafner will get some good consideration. It’s hard to forget how remarkable he was in 2005 and 2006.

But Omar has made a name for himself. 11 Gold Gloves will help with that. While he didn’t put up huge numbers at the plate, he should stay on the ballot purely for his remarkable defensive play.

There is some tough competition again this year. It’s not as deep as last year’s ballot. But guys like Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera look to be sure first-ballot entries. It’s also the last year for Edgar Martinez, who I think will get in.

But Omar was too good defensively to leave out. I don’t know if he will get in with this being his second year on the ballot, but he’s cemented his place as an all-time Indians player and deserves recognition for it.

As for Travis Hafner? His career numbers don’t hold up. He had some tremendous success in the early-mid 2000’s. But compared to others on the ballot, I don’t know how long Travis will stay on the ballot.

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We’re seeing names from the late 90s and early 2000s Indians teams come onto the ballots more and more, which is pretty weird. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that we were cheering these guys on from “The Jake”. Regardless of where they end up, we can always say they have a special place in the hearts of Clevelanders.

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