Thursday, June 11, 2009

1989 Topps Major League Debut #132: Omar Vizquel

Omar Vizquel

PHOTO: If you're over the age of 30, I bet you smiled when you saw this card. To see an active player from a 20-year-old set is pretty cool, plus Vizquel looks exactly the same in that photo as he looks today.

STAT: As we near the end of this set, it's neat to think about how many players appeared in all 21 seasons from 1989 to 2009. I'll give you Vizquel and Ken Griffey, but the other 2 do not have cards in this set (having debuted earlier than 1989.) Can you get them? Answer here. (Hint: they both reached major career milestones this season.)

ANAGRAM: Omar Vizquel = Removal Quiz

CAREER: 6/10 7/10

Vizquel has had a very respectable career. When he started, he was a classic light-hitting but great-fielding shortstop. As the position took off offensively during the Steroids Era, Vizquel stayed behind, becoming below-average with the bat save for a few strong years in 1999-2002. He'll approach but not quite reach 3,000 hits before he's done, although he's making it more on longevity than good hitting, as his career .273 BA tells you.

Vizquel was a key member of the great Indians teams of the mid-to-late 1990s and is one of the greatest bunters the game has seen in the last 50 years.


  1. Jose may end up in the Hall of Fame as an Aparicio-type inductee.

    One of the players is Randy Johnson. I don't know the other.

  2. The other is Gary Sheffield.

  3. 6/10? That seems low for a guy who's going to play 2 decades, holds some all-time records, etc. I know we ding players for sticking around just to up their counting stats, but this is a guy who's sticking around because he still has some value. If Mike Stanton's an 8/10 as a relief pitcher mainly because he was on a few great Yankees teams, 6/10 is way too low for Omar.

  4. oh yes! When I gave Vizquel a 6, I thought it was probably too low, and I wondered if anybody was going to complain about it. So thanks, Tom.

    I think in terms of comparison to Stanton, the issue is that Stanton was simply a far better player at his position. Vizquel is excellent defensively, and that has value, but he's well below-average offensively. Stanton was excellent in relief and was a very valuable part of his team's bullpen, and I believe a significant part of his teams' post-season success. When the Yankees stopped winning the World Series, it was their bullpen (and not the average age of their positional players) that fell off first. Rivera became overworked and there was no bridge from the starters to him. The Yankees lost a few key leads late in games, and also couldn't hold teams and their rallies fell short. I see Stanton as a major, major contributor, and Vizquel as a very solid major leaguer.

    I stand by my grades, but I'll allow for the fact that perhaps Vizquel should be a 7.

  5. Hmm, career OPS+ of 83. I don't really have a leg to stand on here.

  6. I like this photo much better than the one on his '90 Topps base card

  7. I would have thought a 7 for Vizquel too, only the Wizard has more Gold Gloves than Omar. Something has to be said for that.

  8. OK I caved and gave Vizquel a 7. Thanks for setting me straight.