Omar Vizquel
Omar Vizquel with the Cleveland Indians David Richard/USA TODAY Sports

ALABAMA - It does not only matter if your career was full of All-Star appearances or if you won a World Series title. For baseball pundits, and especially for tenured members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, a person's integrity and character carry a huge weight when it comes to being immortalized with a plaque in Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

That concept is particularly illustrated by the case of former Venezuelan shortstop Omar Vizquel, a three-time All-Star and 11-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop during his 24-year career in the majors.

Regarded as one of the best players at his position, Vizquel is in the cusp of being eliminated from a new chance of being recognized with a plaque at Cooperstown, as the Venezuelan enters year eight of his 10 years of eligibility tomorrow.

Vizquel's otherwise clear path to the hall of fame has been muddled by a series of controversies that surfaced recently. He was accused of sexual harassment in 2021, while ex-wife Blanca Vizquel also accused the shortstop of multiple instances of domestic violence prior and during their six-year marriage.

According The Athletic, Blanca Vizquel confessed to the publication that her husband physically abused her in 2011 -- before they got married in 2014 -- and in 2016. The former MLB star was taken into police custody in 2016 after he pushed his ex-wife, causing multiple broken fingernails and an injury to her shin. Blanca Vizquel later dropped the charged against her then-husband after Omar Vizquel threatened her into signing the letter, she said.

Another controversy involving Vizquel surfaced in 2021, as a former Birmingham Barons bat boy filled a civil lawsuit accusing himl of sexual harassment after the shortstop allegedly exposed his penis multiple times and forced the autistic man to clean his back while Vizquel showered.

With such accusations against him, Vizquel's chances of becoming a Hall of Famer have decreased exponentially in recent years. In his first year of eligibility in 2018, the former Venezuelan star received 37% votes, a fairly normal percentage for first-year ballots.

As the accusations ramped up, Vizquel's image among baseball writers was forever tarnished, as not only a player's record, playing ability and contributions to the sport are taken into consideration, but the integrity, character and sportsmanship side of the game have become increasingly important thanks to MLB's controversy with players using PED's (performance enhancing drugs).

After seeing an increment of the votes he received during 2019 (43%) and 2020 (52.6%), it all went downhill for Vizquel in 2021, with 25.2 percentage points drop compared to the previous year. In the history of baseball's Hall of Fame, not a single player saw a bigger drop between their HOF candidacy as Vizquel between 2020 and 2021. Just last year, he received the lowest amount of votes for a player in their sixth year of eligibility among the candidates, racking up just 19.5%.

For a player to be immortalized in Cooperstown, they must receive at least 75% of the votes from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. For Vizquel, it seems like that ship has sailed forever thanks to his scandals off the diamond.

According to Baseball Reference, only Steve Garvey, Curt Schilling, and Roger Clemens got more than 37% of the vote on their first ballot without eventually getting elected to the Hall of Fame, with two more years or eligibility, Vizquel could become the fourth player on that list.

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