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Vizquel has solid showing in HOF ballot debut

Bonds ticks upward in voting; Kent remains far short of election
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Omar Vizquel commanded attention, much as he did as a Giants shortstop, in his first year on baseball's Hall of Fame ballot.

Vizquel received 156 of 422 votes cast by tenured members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, as announced Wednesday on MLB Network. He can appear on the ballot for as many as nine more years, giving him ample opportunity to hike his 37 percent share of the vote to the 75 percent that's required for induction.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Omar Vizquel commanded attention, much as he did as a Giants shortstop, in his first year on baseball's Hall of Fame ballot.

Vizquel received 156 of 422 votes cast by tenured members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, as announced Wednesday on MLB Network. He can appear on the ballot for as many as nine more years, giving him ample opportunity to hike his 37 percent share of the vote to the 75 percent that's required for induction.

• Complete Hall of Fame voting results

As for the other candidates with significant Giants ties, Barry Bonds inched closer to Cooperstown, though his recent momentum stalled. And you might say that Jeff Kent is in danger of being stranded on second base.

Vizquel's four-year stint with the Giants (2005-08) may have helped him at the ballot box. Because he spent his 20 other Major League seasons in the American League, being a Giant enabled him to showcase his skills to a fresh group of fans -- as well as writers who cast Hall of Fame votes. Vizquel won the last two of his 11 Gold Glove Awards with the Giants.

Former Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez, who fell just short of Hall of Fame election after appearing on 70.4 percent of the ballots, played with Vizquel from 1989-93 in Vizquel's first five seasons in the Majors and believes the defensive wizard deserves his own plaque in Cooperstown some day.

"He got 2,800 hits and 11 Gold Gloves," Martinez said. "To me, it doesn't get better than that. He was a great player that played the game for a long time. He belongs. He doesn't have the big numbers like a lot of home runs or RBIs, but defense is important, too, and he was consistent on both sides of the field."

Bonds appeared on ballots from 56.4 percent of the electorate -- 238 of 422 ballots cast. His 2.6 percent increase was a significant reduction from last year's 9.5 percent rise, however.

Video: Bonds, Clemens get a majority of HOF votes

Bonds, the Major Leagues' all-time home run leader with 762, amassed most of his statistical credentials during 15 years with the Giants (1993-2007), including a .312/.477/.666 slash line in 1,976 games. The former left fielder also won five of his seven National League Most Valuable Player Awards and received 12 of his 14 All-Star team selections with San Francisco.

Kent was far behind, being named on 14.5 percent (61 of 422) of the ballots. He hit 351 of his 377 career homers as a second baseman, the highest all-time total at that position. Kent performed for six Major League teams but excelled most during his six years as a Giant (1997-2002), when he posted a slash line of .297/.368/.535 and averaged 29 home runs and 115 RBIs per season. A five-time All-Star, Kent captured the NL MVP Award in 2000 with the Giants.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

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