Yesterday, the Chicago White Sox agreed to terms on a one-year, $1.75-million contract with 11-time Gold Glove infielder Omar Vizquel. The 43 year old, hit .276 (95-344) with 11 doubles, two home runs and 30 RBI in 108 games with the White Sox in 2010. He made 62 starts at third base, 19 at second, eight at shortstop and one as the designated hitter.
And believe it or not, the native of Caracas, Venezuela, is just 201 hits away from joining the hallowed 3,000 hit club. We know he likely won’t get enough at bats in 2011 to reach the mark. But since he’s coming back next year, and he had about 100 hits last season, why not saddle up in 2012 and get another c-note or so worth of base hits to initiate himself into that elite company?
By Paul M. Banks
The switch-hitting infielder owns a lifetime .273 batting average with 80 home runs, 936 RBI and 1,414 runs scored in 2,850 games with the Seattle Mariners (1989-1993), Cleveland Indians (1994-2004), San Francisco Giants (2005-08), Texas Rangers (2009) and the White Sox (2010).
He is tied for 15th all-time in games played, ranks 19th in at-bats, 47th in hits and 68th in stolen bases (400). Vizquel’s 2,678 hits as a shortstop are the second-highest total all-time, trailing only Derek Jeter (2,904), and his 2,850 games played are the most by a foreign-born player in major league baseball history. The fact that he’s this close to the 3,000 club is impressive when you consider he only hit above .300 once in his 22 year career (1999), and north of .290 in five of his 22 seasons.
Vizquel, a three-time American League All-Star (1998-99, 2002), originally signed with the White Sox as a free agent on November 23, 2009.
You might recall Sox legend Harold Baines sticking around forever trying to reach this elite club. Even returning after the 2000 AL Central Division title year. But he never even reached 2,900. Maybe Vizquel can succeed where he failed.
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