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Vizquel ponders eligibility for Hall

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Former Cleveland Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel finished his career with 2,877 hits, 404 stolen bases, and 1,445 runs. Like Ozzie Smith, who already is in the hall, Vizquel has strong credentials as a defensive shortstop.

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CLEVELAND — Omar Vizquel retired as a player after last season, so it will be almost five more years before he is eligible to be elected to the baseball Hall of Fame.

He says it’s not something he thinks about often, but certainly it has crossed his mind.

“I think my numbers are there,” he said. “But guys have their opinions. There are players with 3,000 hits who haven’t been elected, so I question myself. Obviously, I’m not going to be elected the first time around, but I have some numbers to argue.”

Vizquel was not known for his offense, but he finished his career with 2,877 hits, 404 stolen bases, and 1,445 runs. Like Ozzie Smith, who already is in the hall, Vizquel has strong credentials as a defensive shortstop.

He won 11 Gold Gloves, the last when he was 39, and appeared in three All-Star Games.

Asked whether Vizquel should be in the hall, Indians manager Terry Francona said: “I haven’t thought about it. Give me his numbers.”

When informed of the number of Gold Gloves Vizquel won, Francona said: “Probably. That’s a lot of Gold Gloves.”

Vizquel is in Cleveland for the Indians’ alumni weekend series. He will remain here through Monday night, when the first 10,000 fans will receive his bobblehead.

“This will be my fifth bobblehead,” he said, starting to smile, “and none of them look like me.”

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