In realm of baseball discussion, there is not a lot of opportunity to put Babe Ruth and Omar Vizquel into the same conversation.
One is a wiry fellow, famous for his play in the field while legends have painted the other as a mammoth of a man, famous for his clout at the plate. Both were veterans of 20-plus seasons at baseball’s top level, but one peddled his skills for six teams while the other played for only three, forever changing the storied histories of two of those teams.
So, it seems odd to place these two men into the same conversation, especially when it comes to discussions of offensive contributions. After all, Ruth’s calling card was his bat, having posted a .342 lifetime batting average, 714 home runs, and major league records in both slugging percentage and OPS, at .690 and 1.164 respectively. Vizquel on the other hand, is just a .272 career hitter with a total of 80 career home runs and a .688 OPS. Not exactly apples to apples.
Now, Vizquel will never equal Ruth in the power department, but it still substantial to note that the current Blue Jays utility man tied Babe Ruth for 41st on the all-time hits list. Vizquel notched his 2873rd career hit in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s game. Fittingly, and almost as an ode to Ruth, the hit came against the New York Yankees.
The 45-year-old Vizquel, who is set to retire at the end of the season after 24 years in Major League Baseball, also recorded an RBI single in the top of the eighth inning, passing the Yankee legend.
Still, years from now when Vizquel is sitting in his study, polishing his one of his ten career Golden Gloves awards, he can tell the story of how he passed the mighty Babe Ruth in at least one offensive category.
That has got to count for something.