The 25-year-old Cuban defector landed on American soil in 1993; in three seasons with the Mets he's shown he can cover nearly every inch of that ground with his glove. No one since Ozzie has ranged from the hole to shallow center as gracefully or as often as Ordo�ez, and his howitzer arm turns those dazzling stops into outs. He sometimes misses the trapeze but his nine errors are a far cry from the 27 he made in '96.
Reliability is a shortstop's top priority, and no shortstop has been more reliable than the Cleveland Indian whose record .981 career-fielding percentage doesn't even reflect his 37 errorless postseason games. Vizquel, 31, didn't muff a single ground ball from August 1997 until he booted one last Saturday. SportsCenter loves the acrobatic Ordo�ez, but would you take Dominique (Human Highlight Film) Wilkins over Larry Bird?
Hold your envy of fresh-faced Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf, who were handed starting jobs on draft day. In the past 20 years, seven rookie quarterbacks have started in Week I and held on to the top job for at least nine games, and only one of them, a guy named Elway, turned his team from loser to winner. It seems likely that Manning, who's saddled with the 3-13 Colts, and Leaf, who takes over the 4-12 Chargers, will find out that first jobs aren't supposed to be easy.
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