By Josh Poloha
Former Cleveland Indians star shortstop Omar Vizquel has received his first managing position in baseball. Per WorldBaseballClassic.com’s Jason Beck, Vizquel has been selected to manage Team Venezuela in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Hired as the Detroit Tigers first-base coach in November 2013, the 48-year-old has been with Detroit ever since. Currently in his third season with the Tigers, he is also the infield and baserunning coach for the club. Prior to joining the American League Central team, Vizquel was the Los Angeles Angels minor league fielding instructor during the 2013 season.
The former shortstop retired following the 2012 season with the Toronto Blue Jays and has been in coaching since his retirement. The 11-time Gold Glove winner who notched 2,877 hits in his career asked the Indians about a coaching position following his retirement, but they (unfortunately) did not have a position for him at the time.
In 24 seasons that included playing for the Seattle Mariners, Indians, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, and Blue Jays, the Hall of Fame hopeful had plenty of highlight-reel plays in the field that helped him obtain those aforementioned 11 Gold Gloves. In 11 years in Cleveland, Vizquel hit .283 with 288 doubles, 39 triples, and 279 stolen bases while helping the Indians reach the World Series in both 1995 and 1997, along with being named an All-Star in 1998, 1999, and 2002. The fan favorite was elected into the Indians Hall of Fame in 2014.
Following his retirement in 2012, Vizquel has gone home to Venezuela during the winter to help coach winter baseball. Those winter trips back home seem to have paid off for the Indians’ legend.
Vizquel was the captain of Team Venezuela in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006. Notable players for Team Venezuela, who Vizquel will now manage, include Miguel Cabrera, Salvador Perez, Carlos Gonzalez, Pablo Sandoval, Anibal Sanchez and Elvis Andrus.
Managing Team Venezuela is another resume-builder in Vizquel’s journey, which seems destined to eventually add MLB manager to his list of titles.
Source and photo: www.waitingfornextyear.com