The Fall of Omar
This is the first of a series of Baseball Hall of Fame-related posts leading up to the big announcement of the new inductees on Jan. 25. Thanks, as always, for your readership and support.
OK, let me start with something that’s been bugging me — I’ve been working for a few days on a post called “Should Bad Guys Be in the Hall of Fame?” The post has really turned me inside out. It is built around the fact that, as you undoubtedly know, Hall of Fame support for Omar Vizquel has entirely cratered.
I don’t think I’ll ever finish that essay, it just got too dark.
So I’ll write this one instead.
Let’s clarify, for a moment, what “cratered” really means. Two years ago, Vizquel got more than 50 percent of the vote, truly rarified air. I did not vote for him and, being blunt, did not come particularly close to voting for him: In my mind, Vizquel was a wonderful defensive player and a below-average hitter, and he played forever, and added all together I have him behind other shortstops such as Bert Campaneris and Dave Concepcion and Jimmy Rollins and probably others.
But lots of other people loved Vizquel’s case — more than 2,800 hits, 11 Gold Gloves, all those great barehanded plays, the distinctive joy he brought to the game.
In the last year, several nasty charges have been made against him — domestic abuse, sexual harassment. He vigorously denies all charges, and from a legal standpoint, all of that has and will be worked out in the courts.
But in the Hall of Fame court, he has been unequivocally found unworthy. At this moment, Ryan Thibodaux and his folks have released 116 Hall of Fame ballots of people who voted last year; 59 of those people voted for Vizquel, more than half.
This year, the number is 12 — yes, 47 of the 59 have dropped him off their ballots.
And of the 11 new people voting this year, exactly zero have Vizquel on their ballots.
He’s done. He will likely get the 5% necessary to stay on the ballot for one more year, but I imagine next year he won’t even get that. His Hall of Fame dream is over, barring something … well, I can’t imagine what.