Omar 2584

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Our friend Dianna came up with her “Dianna seats” (Row F behind the Giants Dugout) on a special night for the Giants. I know, I know, Carol and I are the only Giants fans amongst us, but this was a special night celebrating Omar Vizquel’s record of the most games ever played at shortstop. He plays with a flourish and a happiness that transcends baseball and sends him into the realm of dance. It is a glorious thing to behold, even in a year when the Giants are irrelevant.

If there’s one thing at which the Giants excel, it is tradition and ceremony, and this was no exception. Luis Aparicio, the record holder until a few days ago, was flown in from Venezuela to his legacy to fellow Venezuelan, Omar.

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Omar and Luis with former Giants manager Philippe Alou

Ironically, the game included a ‘round-the-horn” triple play by the Giants and the only infielder not touching the ball on that rarest of occasions, was Omar.

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rookie shortstop Emmanuel Burriss (7), Omar (13), Tim Lincecum (55)

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Greg Maddux v. Omar

Dignitaries gather to honor Vizquel
05/31/2008 12:37 AM ET
By David Biderman / MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO — When he was a child, Omar Vizquel never had a chance to watch Luis Aparicio play baseball in person. Instead, he watched video tapes and occasionally caught highlights of his Venezuelan counterpart, trying to glean as many tips and tricks as possible.

Now, after 19 years and an all-time-record 2,586 games at shortstop in the Major Leagues, Vizquel has done more than just meet his boyhood idol — he has passed him in the record books. Aparicio, a nine-time Gold Glove Award winner, previously held the mark with 2,583 games.

In an on-field ceremony before Friday’s game — the Giants’ first at home since Vizquel broke the record — fans stood and cheered while several baseball luminaries spoke to the greatness of the shortstop’s career.

Duane Kuiper (a Giants broadcaster), Harold Reynolds (Vizquel’s double-play partner in Seattle), Jim Lefebvre (former San Francisco hitting coach), Carlos Baerga (Vizquel’s double-play partner in Cleveland) and Felipe Alou (former Giants manager) spoke following a video tribute that featured several current San Francisco players.

“I don’t think anybody has more fun on a baseball field than Omar,” Reynolds said. “He’s always up and animated. Defensively, I’ve never played with anybody with the hands that he has. We used to have contests to see who could go the longest without missing a ground ball, and he could just go on for days.”

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy and second baseman Ray Durham presented Vizquel with a plaque featuring a signed lineup card and a second base from the game in which he set the record. Finally, Vizquel spoke to the crowd, ending a short speech with, “Now, let’s play ball.”

In his career, Vizquel has 11 Gold Gloves — second only to Ozzie Smith’s 13 — and has turned 1,661 double plays, tops among shortstops. He’s also been a capable hitter through his career, ranking seventh among shortstops in hits (2,610) and ninth in runs scored (1,344).

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