By Amaury Pi Gonzalez
SAN FRANCISCO — Omar Vizquel was one of the best ever defensive shortstops in major league baseball history,winning 11 Gold Gloves(second most in history to Ozzie Smith’s 13) during a 24-year career with Seattle, Cleveland, San Francisco 2005-2008,Texas, Chicago White Sox and Toronto.
Vizquel ended with a solid .272 batting average in 2,968 games with 2,877 hits. From 2014 to 2017, he was the Detroit Tigers first-base infield and base-running coach. Vizquel was the Captain of the Venezuelan World Baseball Classic Team in 2016 and a member of the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame. He is 52 years old and bilingual in English and Spanish. He is a very smart baseball man who told me in the past his post-retirement goal was to manage in the major leagues.
The Giants will pick somebody to succeed Bruce Bochy, a future Hall of Fame manager that brought three World Series to San Francisco, a franchise that won their first World Series in 2010, the first for the club in 52 years since moving from New York. One of only 10 managers that have won three World Series, a sure thing for Cooperstown.
Vizquel received 182 votes in the 2019 ballot for the Hall of Fame, falling short of the 75% required for election, as he got 42.8 percent. His chances are good for membership in the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown in the next few years.
Vizquel is a good teacher and excellent communicator in two languages (Spanish, the second language in baseball), and there is little doubt in my mind that he will get a chance to manager in the major leagues. Maybe the Giants would give him the opportunity, among the many candidates that they will interview, if not, he will manage someplace, sooner than later. He was at the Bruce Bochy reunion this Sunday at Oracle Park. He loves the Bay Area and would be thrilled to be back here. He could be competing with another ex-player and also bilingual baseball man in Raúl Ibañez.
Amaury Pi-González is a pioneer in establishing baseball radio broadcast in Spanish in the Bay Area with the Oakland A’s since the the 1970’s and a longtime contributor to Sports Radio Service.