CLEVELAND -- Tigers first-base coach Omar Vizquel will do everything he can to help Detroit win this weekend against the Tribe, but that won't stop the division-foe Indians from honoring their former defensive wizard.
Vizquel, who spent 11 of his 24 Major League seasons with the Tribe, will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame before Saturday night's tilt. He hit .283 in 1,478 games with Cleveland while winning eight of 11 career Gold Glove Awards for his masterful play at shortstop.
"It's very few chances you have to be a part of a Hall of Fame," Vizquel said Friday. "I think it's a prestige thing for many players that you can even mention to be in such a home, especially with all the great players that have been in the organization for a long time."
A three-time All-Star, Vizquel played for six teams during his career, including the Mariners and Giants. However, he is most remembered for his role with the Tribe during the '90's, when the team won a pair of American League pennants (1995 and 1997) and featured a pair of excellent defensive infielders in Vizquel and Robbie Alomar.
"[I think of what could have been] every time that I walk into Cleveland," Vizquel said. "Those really were the best times for me as a player."
Vizquel's game was defined by his play in the field and ability to make contact. Only once in his career did he manage a double-digit home run total, but he remains just the second shortstop to ever win at least 11 Gold Gloves (Ozzie Smith won 13). He is also the last Indian to record six hits in one game in August 1999, against the Yankees.
Even as a young player, he managed to impress others with his smooth glovework. Indians manager Terry Francona recalls watching a young Vizquel while rehabbing with the Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan League.
"He was probably 18 and he couldn't hit the ball out of the infield," Francona said. "But you could see a kid that, it's like he didn't need a glove at shortstop. And then you look up a couple years later and it's Omar Vizquel. Gold Glove. Good hitter. So it's kind of interesting to watch him grow into who he [became]. Because he was so young, playing in a very advanced league at the time."
Vizquel will become the 40th player to join the Indians Hall of Fame.
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.