Omar Vizquel

Vizquel’s fielding was so slick you could slip on it. The man with eight consecutive Gold Glove awards (1993-2000) tied Cal Ripken’s AL record for most consecutive games without an error (95 between September 26, 1999 and July 21, 2001), and his career .983 career fielding percentage was the highest ever for a shortstop with over 1,000 major-league games. With a career average in the .270s, Vizquel manned the #2 spot in the Cleveland order, bridging the gap between Kenny Lofton and the heart of the Indians lineup. A 40-base-stealer in 1997, his quick legs also made hard to double up, and he hit into a major-league low four double plays in 2000.

Vizquel’s magical glovework was evident when he broke in with the Seattle Mariners in 1989, but it took him some years to master the art of hitting. With his batting average mired in the low-.200s during his rookie season, Vizquel spent time in Triple-A working on his swing. By 1991 his improved plate discipline elevated his OBP to .302, enough to warrant a full-time job.

In a cost cutting move in 1994, the Mariners traded Vizquel to the Indians for two prospects and some cash. In Cleveland he joined Kenny Lofton as the first pair of Indians to win Gold Gloves since Vic Power and Jimmy Piersall did it in 1961.

Outside of baseball Vizquel was a painter and a humanitarian. He combined his interests by donating a drawing or painting to the “Young Audiences” fund, an arts education program. He also spent the month of January 2000 working in his native Venezuela helping with the relief effort aft flooding took the lives of 25,000 of his countrymen.