Omar Vizquel Plans to Retire After 2012 Season, Hopes to Become Coach or Manager


Omar Vizquel Plans to Retire After 2012 Season, Hopes to Become Coach or ManagerBOSTON — Omar Vizquel, the ageless wonder, is going to turn the page.

After hinting in May that he was "51 percent" sure that 2012 would be his last season, the Blue Jays shortstop said before Tuesday's game that he is ready to retire and start the next chapter of his life.

"This will be my last year," Vizquel said in Spanish to "I've enjoyed this game a lot, but I think it's time to pursue a new career as a coach or manager, and hopefully I'll get that opportunity in the future."

This campaign will cap Vizquel's majestic 24-year career, which included stints with the Mariners, Indians, Giants, Rangers, White Sox and Blue Jays. The 45-year-old has appeared in two World Series with the Indians, losing both in 1995 and 1997.

During his career, the Venezuelan native has been recognized as one of the best defensive shortstops in Major League Baseball history, collecting 11 Gold Gloves and earning three All-Star nods.

But aside from those accolades and his longevity, Vizquel — who is currently the oldest position player in the majors — wants his positive personality and passion for the game to stand out above all else.

"I want to be remembered as a ballplayer that always enjoyed the game and always played with a smile on his face even though every moment wasn't great," Vizquel said. "There were tough times. But I think the best honor you can say about a person is that he's enjoying the game."

At this point, Vizquel is already planning his next move. When the 2012 season wraps up, Vizquel said he eventually plans to head back Venezuela, where he'll start coaching one of the country's renowned winter ball teams.

"I'll start with Leones del Caracas one of these years and I've already had some conversations with them because they're looking for ballplayers to help out in winter ball," Vizquel said. "I think that'll be my first learning experience as I work to try and eventually be a manager in the majors."

Heading into Tuesday's game, Vizquel has tallied 2,854 career hits. Despite likely falling short of the historic 3,000-hit plateau, it's probable his performance will place him in the Hall of Fame discussion.

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