Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Luis Aparicio vs. Omar Vizquel

So the Chicago White Sox announced on Monday that they were un-retiring the #11 so that newly acquired SS Omar Vizquel can wear it this upcoming season (Click Here for the article on ChicagoTribune.com). For those of you who don't know who #11 was retired to honor, the number honors the only major league Hall of Famer from Venezuela: Luis Aparicio.


Vizquel's original number was #13 but that number is currently being worn by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. That provides a bit of a predicament for Vizquel. Since he's playing on the same team that his country's only Hall of Famer played for Vizquel wanted to pay homage to Aparicio. So what started out as a thought to honor Aparicio, became the driving force behind the number un-retiring. With Aparicio's approval, Vizquel will wear the #11 this upcoming season with the Chisox. As Aparicio was quoted in a statement:

"If there is one player who I would like to see wear my uniform number with the White Sox, it is Omar Vizquel," said Aparicio in a statement. "I have known Omar for a long time. Along with being an outstanding player, he is a good and decent man."

Both players are shortstops who played in very much the same way. Since there will be comparisons on the statistics of both players, here I go adding my proverbial two cents.

Luis Aparicio played from 1956-1973 for the Chicago White Sox, the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles. In those 18 seasons, Aparicio had a career batting average of .262 where he amassed 2677 hits (934 2B, 92 3B, 83 HR) and 791 RBI with 506 SB, of which Aparicio led the league 9 years in a row from 1956-1964 with his highest being 57 in 1964 with the Orioles. In terms of modern metrics, Aparicio had a career OBP% of .311 and a SLG% of .343 for an OPS of .633. Defensively, Aparicio had a career .972 fielding percentage and averaging 143.5 games per year.

Aparicio's best season was the season of 1959 with the American League Champion Chicago White Sox. Playing with the "Go-Go" White Sox, Aparicio was 2nd in the MVP race (behind teammate Nellie Fox and ahead of teammate Early Winn) where he hit .257 with 157 hits (18 2B, 5 3B, and 6 HR), 51 RBI and 56 SB. Aparicio was also an All-Star and Gold Glove winner that season. In total, Aparicio was the Rookie of the Year in 1956 with the Chicago White Sox a 10-time All-Star and a 9-time Gold Glove award winner. Aparicio was inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.

Omar Vizquel has been playing in the Major Leagues since 1989, having played for the Seattle Mariners, the Cleveland Indians, the San Francisco Giants, the Texas Rangers and now the Chicago White Sox. In the past 21 seasons, Vizquel has a career batting average of .273 where he amassed 2704 hits (473 2B, 74 3B, 78 HR) and 906 RBI with 389 SB. In terms of modern metrics, Vizquel has a career OBP% of .338 and a SLG% of .355 for an OPS of .693. Defensively, Vizquel has a career .985 fielding percentage.

Vizquel's best season was the season of 1999 with the American League Central Champion Cleveland Indians. Vizquel hit a career high .333 with 191 hits (36 2B, 4 3B, and 5 HR), 66 RBI and 42 SB. Vizquel was also an All-Star and Gold Glove winner that season. In total, Vizquel is a 3-time All-Star and an 11-time Gold Glove award winner.

Where Aparicio was the model of what a shortstop was to be like in his era, Vizquel played in the era of power hitting shortstops like Cal Ripken, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Nomar Garicaparra and Miguel Tejada. When Vizquel didn't measure up to those players in hitting, his defensive prowess could not be matched. At the age of 43, Vizquel will play a pivotal role by coming off the bench for fellow Venezuelan Ozzie Guillen this upcoming season. How long will he play? Who knows. Vizquel really shows no signs of slowing down. I guess his fellow infield partner and future Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar will have to wait at least 6 more years before Omar Vizquel gets inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Here's another article on the number un-retiring from MLB.com
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