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One Fan’s View: Celebrating Omar Vizquel
If I could remember 1989, I'd tell you that I was finishing up second grade. Getting ready to start my first summer in a new house and eagerly explore the nearby railroad tracks, I spent that summer getting to know the boy down the street, throwing rocks at passing trains, and watching Cleveland Indians baseball games at my grandma's house on the weekends.
The summer of 1994 is easier to recall, even if only slightly. That was the summer between 7th and 8th grade, and contained that perfect moment in every boy's life. That was the summer that I became that kid. That summer was spent almost the same as the summer of 1989; hanging out with the down the street buddy, hanging around the railroad tracks, and watching Indians games with my grandma.
The years of 1989 and 1994 seem like pretty random years in my childhood, but Thursday, March 30 they shined with their annual few minutes of significance when news broke that Omar Vizquel made the big league roster for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Vizquel was a rookie in 1989 with the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners were terrible that year, but a chance is a chance, and the 22-year-old Vizquel played in 143 games and immediately shored up Seattle's infield.
Omar was never known to be an offensive powerhouse, but his .252 batting average over his first five seasons in Seattle was enough of a compliment to his 1993 Gold Glove Award that the Indians decided to try and acquire the budding defensive wonder. In the offseason before opening day 1994, the Indians sent veteran Felix Fermin and young slugger Reggie Jefferson to Seattle for Vizquel.
That summer was the first summer that I can remember seeing a dynamic middle infield make magic happen. Sure, there were better second basemen than Carlos Baerga, but playing next to Omar Vizquel can do wonders for an infielder's image.
That strike-shortened 1994 season was my first taste of rooting for greatness as a Cleveland fan, and Omar was there every step of the way. Vizquel spent 10 seasons in Cleveland and won 8 Gold Glove Awards and was an American League All-Star 3 times as a member of the Indians.
Omar Vizquel will be 45 years old on April 24, 2012, and Tribe fans are lucky to have spent 10 of those 45 years celebrating alongside him on the corner of East 9th and Carnegie. Congratulations, Omar. I know you have to retire someday, but I'm always happy with a reason to remember watching baseball with my grandma.
Josh Flagner was born barely a par 4 away from Downtown Cleveland and has been in a Browns, Indians, or Cavaliers hoodie ever since. Josh's sports obsession has led to him be a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network and a Co-Founder of More Than a Fan.
Stats: Baseball Reference
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