Vizquel honored by Indians Hall of Fame induction

Vizquel honored by Indians Hall of Fame induction

CLEVELAND -- There is no denying Omar Vizquel's place in Indians history. A sellout crowd at Progressive Field on Saturday night was evidence of the legacy that the former shortstop left behind here in Cleveland.

Little O now has a home in the Indians Hall of Fame.

"You prepare for a moment like this," Vizquel said on Friday. "You prepare yourself for it. But when the moment gets there, everything changes and your emotions are really high."

Prior to Saturday's game against Detroit, Vizquel was honored in an induction ceremony on the field, where six Indians Hall of Famers -- Sandy Alomar Jr., Carlos Baerga, Mike Hargrove, Kenny Lofton, Charles Nagy and Andre Thornton -- joined him. Cleveland also inducted long-time radio broadcaster Jimmy Dudley posthumously into the Indians Distinguished Hall of Fame.

Vizquel's Indians Hall of Fame plaque included a bronzed image of the shortstop making a barehanded grab. A smiling Vizquel kissed the plaque and waved to a roaring crowd as he emerged from the center-field wall and walked onto the infield. Following a video tribute on the Progressive field scoreboard, Vizquel spoke to the crowd.

"Cleveland," Vizquel said, "you will always have a very special place in my heart."

It was a well-deserved honor for the 47-year-old Vizquel, who now serves as a first-base coach for the Tigers. There are flecks of gray in his hair, but Vizquel still looks like he could head out to the infield dirt and make a highlight-reel play. For 11 seasons of his 24-year career, Vizquel called Cleveland home and cemented his place in baseball history as one of the all-time great defenders.

Vizquel collected eight of his 11 Gold Gloves as a member of the Indians, who watched him develop into a formidable offensive weapon. From 1994-2004, Vizquel hit .283 with 60 home runs, 288 doubles, 39 triples, 584 RBIs, 279 stolen bases, 612 walks, 906 runs scored and 1,616 hits in 1,478 games for the Indians.

Vizquel rankes in Cleveland's all-time top 10 for stolen bases (second), singles (fifth), runs (sixth), hits (seventh), doubles (eighth), total bases (10th) and games played (10th). The shortstop was a member of Cleveland's 1995 and '97 American League champion teams, and helped the Indians wins six division titles.

The Indians made Vizquel the 40th member of the team's Hall of Fame.

"It's very few chances you have to be a part of a Hall of Fame," Vizquel said. "I think it's a [prestigious] thing for many players that you can even mention to be in such a home, especially with all the great players that have been in the organization for a long time. I'm very honored."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.