Vladimir Guerrero

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Vladimir Guerrero
Vladimir Guerrero 2011.jpg
Guerrero in his one-year stint with the Orioles.
Right fielder / Designated hitter
Born: (1975-02-09) February 9, 1975 (age 39)
Nizao, Dominican Republic
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 19, 1996 for the Montreal Expos
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 2011 for the Baltimore Orioles
Career statistics
Batting average .318
Hits 2,590
Home runs 449
Runs batted in 1,496
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Vladimir Alvino Guerrero (born February 9, 1975) is a Dominican former professional baseball player who spent 16 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). A right fielder and designated hitter, he has played for the Montreal Expos (1996–2003), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2004–2009), Texas Rangers (2010), and Baltimore Orioles (2011).

In 2004, he was voted the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP). He helped lead the Angels to five AL West championships (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009), and was voted as one of the most feared hitters in baseball in a 2008 poll of all 30 major league managers.[1]

A nine-time All Star, he was widely recognized as one of the best all-around players in the game because of his impressive offensive production, regularly hitting for power and average, and, prior to injuries that robbed him of range, stellar defense and strong throwing arms. He was also regarded as the game's premier "bad ball hitter," for his ability to consistently hit balls thrown well outside of his strike zone, a skill made evident on August 14, 2009, when Guerrero hit a pitch which bounced in front of home plate.[2]

On September 26, 2011, Guerrero became the all-time MLB leader in hits among players from the Dominican Republic, surpassing Julio Franco. He was later surpassed by Adrián Beltré in 2014. Through 2011, he was the leader among active major league outfielders in errors, with 125, and was second in assists, with 126.[3][4]

Early years and family[edit]

One of nine children, Guerrero is the younger brother of ex-major leaguer Wilton Guerrero, who also played with the Montreal Expos. He is also the cousin of current minor leaguer Cristian Guerrero of the Sioux Falls Pheasants, and the uncle of Seattle Mariners farmhand Gabriel Guerrero.[5] His son, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., was born in the Dominican Republic in 1999, and is also a baseball prospect.[6][7]

His 6-foot-3-inch (1.91 m) frame, strong arm, and unusual ability to hit balls out of the strike zone drew attention at a Dodgers training camp. After injuring his hamstring running out a double, he allegedly hit a home run in his next at bat to avoid having to run the bases. Due to his leg condition, Guerrero only received a 30-day contract. But he grew frustrated with the structure of the Dodgers camp, and left. In March 1993, Guerrero signed with the Montreal Expos. During the process he lied about his age, claiming to be born February 9, 1976. It was not until March 2009 that he revealed to Major League Baseball that he was born February 9, 1975.[8]

In 1994, Guerrero hit .314 in 37 games with the Expos' Rookie League team. The next year he hit .333 with the Albany Polecats. In 1996, while advancing from Single-A to Double-A, Guerrero batted .360 with 24 home runs and 96 RBI.[9] His September callup was unproductive, although he hit his first major league home run.

Career[edit]

Montreal Expos[edit]

Guerrero was signed by the Montreal Expos as an amateur free agent on March 1, 1993 and eventually made his major league debut on September 19, 1996. He was 1 for 5 in his debut, with his first hit a single to center field off of Steve Avery of the Atlanta Braves in the top of the 4th.[10] He hit his first career home run off of the Braves closer Mark Wohlers on September 21, 1996.[11]

He was criticized during his first season in 1997 (he had played 9 games in 1996) for being too aggressive at the plate. Nonetheless, he put up solid numbers for a rookie, batting .302 with 11 HRs and 40 RBI in just 325 at-bats.

Guerrero led all major league outfielders in errors in 1997 (12; tied), 1998 (17), 1999 (19), 2000 (10; tied), and 2001 (12; tied). He also led all NL outfielders in errors in 2002 (10), and led all AL outfielders in 2006 (11), and 2007 (9).[12]

Scorn for Guerrero's free-swinging ways changed into admiration in 1998. While he continued to swing at pitches that were clearly balls, he also continued to hit them with authority. In one instance, Guerrero got a base hit off a pitch that bounced before arriving at home plate. Guerrero's superior hand-eye coordination and prodigious strength allowed him to be unusually aggressive at the plate, but still put up high batting averages year after year. Despite his freeswinging style, Guerrero has never struck out 100 times in any season.

Guerrero batted .324 with 38 HRs and 109 RBI in 1998. Before the end of the 1998 season, Guerrero agreed to a $28 million deal.[13] Guerrero represented the Expos at the 1999 All-Star Game. During the 1999 season, Guerrero maintained a 31 game hitting streak‚ the longest in the majors in 12 years.[14] He finished 1999 with 131 RBI, and in 2000, he hit 44 home runs; both figures remain career highs.

He posted similar or slightly improved numbers through the 2002 season. He also developed a running game, stealing 37 bases in 2001. In 2002, he stole a career-high 40 bases, and fell one home run short of becoming the fourth member of the "40-40 Club." However, he hit 30+ home runs and stole 30+ bases in both 2001 and 2002 (see 30-30 club).

Guerrero's 2003 season was shortened due to a back injury. In 394 at-bats, he hit .330 with 25 HRs and 79 RBIs. Because of the injury, some in the media thought signing him would be a risk. While he was playing injured, though, he still managed to hit for the cycle on September 14, 2003.

Throughout his career, he set single season Expos records in Batting Average, Slugging, OPS, Home Runs, RBI, TB, Hits, XBH, TOB, IBB, as well as several other records. He is the all time Expos career leader in Batting Average (.323), Home Runs (234), Slugging (.588) and OPS (.978). [15] He won the Montreal Expos Player of the Year award in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim[edit]

Guerrero was a free agent for the first time after the 2003 season, and he signed a five year, $70 million deal with the Anaheim Angels after being courted by several teams. The owner of the Angels, Arte Moreno, was the first Hispanic controlling owner of a Major League ballclub, and Guerrero cited Moreno's heritage as a motivating factor for choosing the Angels over other teams.[16]

2004 MVP season[edit]

During his first season with Angels, Guerrero led his club, and in some cases the American League (AL), in several offensive categories, including 124 runs (set new club record and led the AL), 13 outfield assists (Tied for 1st in AL), 366 total bases (tied club record and led AL), and a season ending batting average of .337 (3rd in AL). He was the second player in club history with .300/30/100 numbers. Among AL leaders, he finished in the top 10 of 20 major offensive categories, which led to Guerrero being voted the Gene Autry Trophy (Team MVP) by his teammates. Making his fifth MLB All-Star game appearance in July, he led AL outfielders with 3,024,870 votes and was the first Angel outfielder to be a starter since Reggie Jackson in 1984.

Guerrero continued his offensive dominance in September, earning American League Player of the Month after batting .371 with 24 runs scored, six doubles, a triple, 10 home runs and 23 RBI. Guerrero was clutch down the stretch. Over the final seven games of the season, his 10 runs, six home runs and 11 RBI helped the Angels overcome a 3-game deficit, which ultimately led to an American League West Division Crown.

Down the stretch of the 2004 MLB season, Guerrero was impressive. Mike Scioscia, the Angels manager, said that Guerrero "really carried us on his back" in the last month of the season, as the Angels overtook first place from the faltering Oakland Athletics who finished the season one game behind in the standings. Guerrero leading the Angels to their first Western Division title since 1986 (The Angels won the 2002 World Series as the American League Wild Card). These late-season heroics led to Guerrero being chosen as the second Angel to win the AL MVP in franchise history. He finished with 354 points, 100 more than second place finisher Gary Sheffield.

In the opening best-of-5 round of the playoffs, the Angels were swept by the Boston Red Sox, and Guerrero had an odd batting line: just a .167 average, but six RBIs in three games. He would also have a grand slam in game 3.

2005 season[edit]

Guerrero at bat vs. the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, August 28, 2005.

The Angels won the Western Division again in 2005, with Guerrero batting .317 with 32 home runs and 108 RBIs in 520 at bats. Late in the season, Guerrero became the 12th player to hit his 300th home run before the age of 30 (along with Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Harmon Killebrew, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey, Jr., Juan González, and Andruw Jones, who achieved the mark about the same time as Guerrero).

Guerrero had an up-and-down 2005 postseason, batting .389 in ALDS victory over the New York Yankees, but just .050 in the ALCS against the eventual world champion Chicago White Sox. He fared better in a national TV ad for Pepsi with the Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez; the two engaged in a personal home run competition that ended up with the moon being broken. Guerrero also appeared at Game Four of the 2005 World Series, where he was introduced as a member of Major League Baseball's Latino Legends Team.

Guerrero recorded his 1000th career RBI on July 15, 2006 at home against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Making his 8th Major League Baseball All-Star game appearance, Guerrero subsequently won his first career Home Run Derby in the 2007 season, highlighted by a 503-foot (153 m) home run. He is the third Angel to win the Derby (after Wally Joyner in 1986, and Garret Anderson in 2003). Guerrero was chosen for the All-Star Game in each of his first four seasons with the Angels (2004–2007). Guerrero's stellar fielding talent dwindled in the later 2000s due to age and injuries, prompting the long-time outfielder to be reassigned as a designated hitter at the start of the 2009 season.[17]

2009 season[edit]

In 2009, Guerrero was named # 37 on the Sporting News' list of the 50 greatest current players in baseball. A panel of 100 baseball people, many of them members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and winners of major baseball awards, was polled to arrive at the list.[18]

On August 10, Guerrero hit his 400th career home run off Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Russ Springer.[19] On August 26, he recorded his 1,000th career hit as an Angel, a single off Detroit Tigers pitcher Edwin Jackson. This hit made Guerrero only the fourth player (Frank Robinson, Dave Winfield, Fred McGriff) to record 1,000 hits as a National League player and as an American league player.[citation needed]

On October 11, 2009, Guerrero hit a two-run RBI single to score Bobby Abreu and Chone Figgins off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth-inning. The single gave the Angels a 7–6 lead and eventually the win to finally advance to the ALCS and beat the Boston Red Sox for the first time ever in postseason history. It was called "the biggest hit in Vlad's career."

2009 was the first time that Guerrero had a batting average below .300 (.295), an OPS below .800 (.794), or a doubles total less than 20 (16).

He set 15 team records – 10 career, 5 single season – during his tenure with the Angels.

Texas Rangers[edit]

Guerrero in 2010 spring training.

On January 11, 2010, Guerrero signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal with incentives and a 2011 option with the Texas Rangers.

He broke up a no-hitter by Shaun Marcum in the seventh inning of the Opening Day game against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 5, 2010.[20] On May 6, 2010 Guerrero hit two home runs versus the Kansas City Royals to secure a 13–12 win. On May 13, 2010 Guerrero's walk off line drive to left field won the final game of a three game series against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the twelfth. On May 25, 2010 he hit two more home runs to secure another win over the Kansas City Royals. On June 30, 2010, against his former team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Guerrero hit two home runs and went 4-for-4 with 5 RBIs.

Guerrero wound up appearing in 152 games with a batting average of .300 hitting 29 home runs and 115 RBIs earning him an All-Star game appearance and the Silver Slugger award in the regular season for a Texas Rangers club that wound up winning its division and ultimately, the first pennant in Rangers' history. He also earned his ninth invitation to the All-Star Game.[21] On October 22, 2010, Guerrero drove in 3 runs during game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, capturing the first American League pennant for the Texas Rangers.[22] The Rangers would go on to lose the World Series to the San Francisco Giants in five games. On November 3 the Rangers declined to pick up Guerrero's 2011 option making him a free agent.

Baltimore Orioles[edit]

Guerrero signed a one-year, US $8 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles on February 18, 2011.[23] He became the all-time MLB hits leader among Dominican-born players when he singled off Josh Beckett in the sixth inning of a 6–3 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Camden Yards on September 26, 2011.[24] In 2011, Guerrero hit .290, his lowest since his rookie year with the Montreal Expos in 1996. He also had 13 home runs and 63 RBIs on a struggling Orioles team. Though it seemed like an unproductive year for him, Guerrero still hit in the top 20 and had 163 base hits.

Toronto Blue Jays[edit]

Guerrero remained unsigned by any team going into the 2012 Major League Baseball season, leading to much speculation about his potential retirement, though Guerrero insisted that he would not retire.[25] On May 10, 2012, Guerrero signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.[26] During his first game for the Class-A Dunedin Blue Jays on Sunday May 27, 2012, Guerrero hit a home run.[27] Guerrero played in 4 games for Dunedin, with 9 hits in 20 at bats, including 4 home runs and was then promoted to the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s. With the 51s he played in 8 games, with 10 hits in 33 at-bats (.303 avg). He asked for, and was granted, his release on June 12, 2012. [28]

Dominican Professional Baseball League[edit]

On 4 November 2012 Guerrero made his debut in the Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana with Tigres del Licey.[29] He only played eight games with Tigres logging a batting average of .188 without a home run. On 20 November 2012 Guerrero quit the team after he was informed by team management that he would only be used as a pinch hitter.[30]

Long Island Ducks[edit]

On April 4, 2013, Guerrero signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League.[31] He informed the team that he had family issues to attend to and wouldn't be joining them to start the season. He never did arrive.

Retirement[edit]

On March 31, 2014, Guerrero signed a one-day contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and officially retired. [32]

Vladimir Guerrero in 2014

Batting style[edit]

Guerrero batted without wearing batting gloves, a custom rarely seen in modern baseball. In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, he attributed this to helping his grandfather pull cows home barehanded as a young boy in the Dominican Republic.[33] To improve his grip on the bat, he coats his helmet with pine tar and simply rubs his helmet before going into the on-deck circle. As the season progresses, his batting helmet becomes covered in the substance.[34][35]

Guerrero batted over .300 from 1997 to 2008. He has driven in over 100 runs in every season but 2003 and 2008. Along with his 2004 MVP season, he has finished 6th (2000), 4th (2002), 3rd (2005), 9th (2006), and 3rd (2007) in MVP voting.[21]

In 2008, Guerrero swung at a higher percentage of pitches outside the strike zone, 45.5%, than any other hitter in major league baseball up to that time. (Albert Pujols has since matched this feat.)[36]

He had a 44-game hitting streak exclusively against the Texas Rangers from 2004 to 2006, the longest such player-vs.-team streak in MLB history since 1969.[14] The streak occurred over his first 44 appearances against the Rangers. The streak finally came to an end in August 2006 in a game in which Guerrero was intentionally walked three times, walked four times overall, and finished 0-for-1. Guerrero has decimated Ranger pitching over his career, putting up a career batting line of .395/.461/.661 with 25 HR, 34 Doubles and 70 RBI in 108 games. [37] During the 2009 post-season, Cal Ripken Jr. commented during a TBS post-game report that Guerrero was "the best bad-ball hitter he's ever seen." On one occasion in a game against the Baltimore Orioles, Guerrero hit a pitch that bounced in the dirt before home plate. Even more unusual, his bat struck the ground as well before hitting the ball.[2]

World Baseball Classic[edit]

Guerrero was named to the Dominican Republic's roster for the 2006 World Baseball Classic, although he eventually withdrew due to the death of three cousins in a car accident immediately before the tournament.[38] He has provided several job opportunities in his hometown in the Dominican Republic through his business ventures: a concrete-block factory, a propane distribution company, a supermarket, a livestock and vegetable farm, and a women's clothing store.[39]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • American League Most Valuable Player (2004)
  • Edgar Martínez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award (2010)
  • 9× MLB All-Star (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010)
  • 8× Silver Slugger Award winner (1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010)
  • 2× Montreal Expos Minor League Player of the Year (1995, 1996)
  • Montreal Expos Player of the Year (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002)
  • 4× Los Angeles Angels Player of the Year (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
  • 2× Baseball America First-Team Major League All-Star OF (2000, 2004)
  • 3× Baseball America Second-Team Major League All-Star OF (1998, 1999, 2005)
  • South Atlantic League All-Star OF (1995)
  • Eastern League MVP (1996)
  • Double-A Player of the Year (1996)
  • Baseball America 1st team Minor League All-Star OF (1996)
  • Double-A All-Star OF (1996)
  • Eastern League All-Star OF (1996)
  • Eastern League Rookie of the Year (1996)

Career statistical highlights[edit]

League top ten[edit]

  • Top 10 in MVP voting (2000, 2002, 2004(won), 2005, 2006, 2007)
  • Top 10 in AVG (1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
  • Top 10 in home runs (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010)
  • Top 10 in RBI (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010)
  • Top 10 in slugging percentage (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
  • Top 10 in OBA (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007)
  • Top 10 in OPS (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
  • Top 10 in hits (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006)
  • Top 10 in runs (2002, 2004)
  • Top 10 in stolen bases (2001, 2002)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stark, Jayson (April 24, 2008). "Identifying the most feared hitter in the bigs". ESPN.com. 
  2. ^ a b "Video: Guerrero hits ball that bounced". 
  3. ^ http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/E_of_active.shtml
  4. ^ "Active Leaders &amp Records for Assists as OF". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 27, 2011. 
  5. ^ Spratt, Garry (February 10, 2011). "Mariners sign Gabriel Guerrero, Vlad's nephew". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  6. ^ http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/09/vladimir-guerrero-jr-son-mlb-tryout
  7. ^ http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/vladimir-guerrero-s-15-year-old-son-is-already-hitting-like-his-dad--video-215455962.html
  8. ^ Brown, Tim (March 6, 2009). "Angels’ Guerrero is a year older than listed". Yahoo! Sports. 
  9. ^ "Vladimir Guerrero Statistics (Minor Leagues)". Retrieved March 6, 2009. 
  10. ^ September 19, 1996 Expos at Braves box score
  11. ^ September 21, 1996 Expos at Braves box score
  12. ^ ".". Retrieved October 27, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Vladimir Guerrero Biography". JockBio. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  14. ^ a b "Vladimir Guerrero from the Chronology". BaseballLibrary.com. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Washington Nationals Top 10 Batting Leaders". 
  16. ^ "Slugger will receive $5M signing bonus". ESPN.com. Associated Press. January 14, 2004. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  17. ^ Baxter, Kevin (April 13, 2009). "Mike Scioscia believes umpires acted unjustly". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 14, 2009. 
  18. ^ Johns, Greg (May 20, 2009). "Ichiro 30th on Sporting News list of baseball's best". Blog.seattlepi.com. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  19. ^ "The Fabulous Forum". Los Angeles Times. August 10, 2009. 
  20. ^ By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com. "Guerrero joins Rangers' lineup". Texas.rangers.mlb.com. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  21. ^ a b "Vladimir Guerrero Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  22. ^ "New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers – Recap – October 22, 2010 – ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Ghiroli, Brittany. "Vlad: 'They are like family here,'" MLB.com, Friday, February 18, 2011". Baltimore.orioles.mlb.com. February 18, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Ghiroli, Brittany. "Vlad tops Dominican players' hit list on single," MLB.com, Tuesday, September 27, 2011". Baltimore.orioles.mlb.com. Retrieved October 27, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Vladimir Guerrero not thinking about retirement". Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  26. ^ Nicholson-Smith, Ben. "Blue Jays Sign Vladimir Guerrero". MLBTraderumors.com. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  27. ^ "MLB: Montero Scores Extension, Johan Santana is Back, More". Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  28. ^ Axisa, Mike. "Blue Jays Release Vladimir Guerrero". MLBTraderumors.com. Retrieved June 12, 2012. 
  29. ^ http://www.diariolibre.com/deportes/2012/10/25/i357251_vladimir-guerrero-jugara-con-los-tigres-del-licey-noviembre.html
  30. ^ http://www.panoramadiario.com/deportes/articulo/articulo/239/vladimir-guerrero-confirma-abandono-las-filas-de-los-tigres-del-licey/
  31. ^ "VLADIMIR GUERRERO SIGNS WITH DUCKS". LIducks.com. April 4, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Vladimir Guerrero retires an Angel". Associated Press. ESPN.com. March 31, 2014. 
  33. ^ Hauth, Ed (June 2, 2012). "Vladimir Guerrero gives 51s’ lineup, attendance a boost". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  34. ^ Arangure, Jr., Jorge; Lukas, Paul (July 10, 2012). "With October looming, Vladimir Guerrero knows what he has to do". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  35. ^ DiGiovanna, Mike (June 4, 2007). "Sunday yard work". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Major League Leaderboards » 2008 » Batters » Plate Discipline Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball". Fangraphs. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  37. ^ "Vladimir Guerrero's Career Batting Statistics, Split by Opponent". Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Complete World Baseball Classic coverage". web.worldbaseballclassic.com. Retrieved March 1, 2006. 
  39. ^ Addcox, Jayson (September 5, 2007). "Donations put Vlad on Clemente ballot". MLB.com. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sammy Sosa
Mark McGwire
Greg Vaughn
Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds
National League Player of the Month
July 1998
August 1999
April 2000
April 2002
August 2003
Succeeded by
Jeff Kent
Greg Vaughn
Todd Helton
Todd Helton
Jim Thome
Preceded by
Ichiro Suzuki
American League Player of the Month
September 2004
Succeeded by
Brian Roberts