Blue Jays' Omar Vizquel passes Babe Ruth in career hits
Veteran infielder singles off Yankees' Pettitte, doubles off David Robertson for No. 2,874
Veteran infielder Omar Vizquel of the Toronto Blue Jays moved ahead of Babe Ruth on the all-time hits list with a single and double at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The 45-year-old doubled home Mike McCoy in the eighth inning on a 1-0 pitch from New York setup man David Robertson for his 2,874th hit to cut the home side's lead to 3-2 after singling to right field off starter Andy Pettitte in the fourth.
The Yankees went on to win 4-2 in the opener of a day-night doubleheader and completed the sweep in the night game with a 2-1 win, but that didn't stop Vizquel from appreciating the feat, especially since it happened in New York.
"I think when you get a hit to tie one of the best hitters in baseball, it's an amazing feeling. I mean, this guy has been a legend in the game for a long time and, to mention my name right next to his just makes me feel so little," Vizquel said. "I never thought, never, ever, in my career of baseball that's been a long one, that I was gonna come close, to even compare my hits with the Babe. It's just unbelievable. It's very emotional, especially here in New York, the house that he built."
Blue Jays manager John Farrell echoed the sentiment and gave praise to the veteran shortstop.
"When you start talking about the names that you're mentioning, this is an outstanding career and he's finishing up on a strong note," Farrell said.
Wednesday's feat, which moved Vizquel to 41st spot on the all-time hit list, came more than 23 years after Vizquel recorded his first major league hit off Oakland Athletics pitcher Storm Davis on April 6, 1989.
"Not even in my wildest dream was I going to think that you could bring the name of Babe Ruth next to mine and compare hits," Vizquel, a three-time all-star shortstop who is retiring after this season, told reporters recently. "I guess when you play for a while, every time you score a run, steal a base, get a base hit, they start bringing some of the numbers that you aren't even aware what's going on.
"When I started the season I wasn't really thinking about numbers. I just wanted to finish my career strong."
An 11-time Gold Glove winner, Vizquel entered Wednesday's game with a .226 batting average and six RBIs in 137 at-bats this season.
The oldest active position player in the big leagues doesn't remember career hit 1,000, a groundball to left field off retired Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield on July 18, 1997, but can recall his 2,000th hit.
"It was against Jason Grimsley, he was with Kansas City at the time, I was playing for Cleveland," said Vizquel, who broke into the majors with Seattle in 1989 and also played for San Francisco, Texas and the Chicago White Sox before signing a free-agent contract with the Blue Jays on Jan. 23 of this year.
With files from The Associated Press