Guerrero with the Baltimore Orioles in 2011
|Right fielder / Designated hitter|
Born: February 9, 1975|
Nizao, Dominican Republic
|September 19, 1996, for the Montreal Expos|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 28, 2011, for the Baltimore Orioles|
|Runs batted in||1,496|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Vote||92.9% (second ballot)|
Vladimir Alvino Guerrero (born February 9, 1975) is a Dominican former professional baseball player who spent 16 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a right fielder and designated hitter. He played for the Montreal Expos (1996–2003), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2004–09), Texas Rangers (2010), and Baltimore Orioles (2011).
A nine-time All-Star, Guerrero was widely recognized for his impressive offensive production—regularly hitting for power and average—as well as his defensive range and strong throwing arm. In 2004, Guerrero was voted the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP). He helped lead the Angels to five AL West championships between 2004 and 2009 and was voted one of the most feared hitters in baseball in a 2008 poll of all 30 major league managers.
Regarded as the game's premier "bad-ball hitter," Guerrero consistently hit balls thrown well outside the strike zone, a skill evident on August 14, 2009, when he hit a pitch after it bounced in front of home plate. With his aggressive batting style, he hit more than 30 home runs in each of 8 seasons and surpassed 100 RBI 10 times, though he had just 2 seasons with at least 65 walks. In the first pitch of the at-bat, Guerrero hit 126 home runs, believed to be the most ever, and put 1,780 balls in play.
On September 26, 2011, Guerrero surpassed Julio Franco as the all-time MLB leader for hits by a Dominican player. (Adrián Beltré claimed the record from Guerrero in 2014.) Guerrero was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.
- 1 Early years and family
- 2 Career
- 3 Batting style
- 4 World Baseball Classic
- 5 Awards and honors
- 6 Career statistical highlights
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Early years and family
One of nine children, Guerrero is the younger brother of ex-major leaguer Wilton Guerrero, who also played with the Montreal Expos. (The two were teammates for several seasons.) He is also the cousin of minor leaguer Cristian Guerrero, and the uncle of Cincinnati Reds farmhand Gabriel Guerrero. His son, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., was born in Montreal, Canada in 1999 during the elder Guerrero's time with the Expos, and is also a baseball prospect. On July 2, 2015, he was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays. As of 2012, Guerrero had a total of eight children with five different women.
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.
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. His September callup was unproductive, although he hit his first major league home run.
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. He hit his first career home run off of the Braves closer Mark Wohlers on September 21, 1996.
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 .350 with 25 HRs and 50 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).
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 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. 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. He finished 1999 with 131 RBI, and in 2000, he hit 44 home runs; both figures are career highs.
On July 7, 2001, Guerrero threw out Alberto Castillo in one of the most exalted throws in Major League Baseball history. After a base hit by Toronto, Castillo, then a baserunner on second base, saw a patent opportunity to reach home base to score a run as the batter had hit the ball well into deep-right field. Guerrero caught the ball off a bounce and launched the ball all the way to his catcher, who received the throw squarely in his mitt without trouble or even having to retrieve it off a roll or bounce. Castillo was put out short of home base. The throw's distance has been estimated to have been roughly three hundred feet, with its vertical arch peaking at merely twenty-one feet.
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 home runs 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). He won the Montreal Expos Player of the Year award in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Guerrero was a free agent for the first time after the 2003 season, and signed a five-year, $70 million deal with the Anaheim Angels on January 14, 2004 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.
2004 MVP season
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.
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 1,000th 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.
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.
On August 10, Guerrero hit his 400th career home run off Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Russ Springer. 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.
On October 11, 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."
He set 15 team records – 10 career, 5 single season – during his tenure with the Angels.
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. 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 a 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. 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. 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.
Guerrero signed a one-year, US $8 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles on February 18, 2011. 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. In 2011, Guerrero hit .290, his lowest batting average 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
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. On May 10, 2012, Guerrero signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. During his first game for the Class-A Dunedin Blue Jays on Sunday May 27, 2012, Guerrero hit a home run. 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.
Dominican Professional Baseball League
He started playing in the Dominican Professional Baseball League with the San Pedro de Macorís team Estrellas Orientales.On November 4, 2012 Guerrero came back to the Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana with Tigres del Licey. He only played eight games with Tigres logging a batting average of .188 without a home run. On November 20, 2012, Guerrero quit the team after he was informed by team management that he would only be used as a pinch hitter.
Long Island Ducks
On April 4, 2013, Guerrero signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. He informed the team that he had family issues to attend to and would not be joining them to start the season. He never did arrive.
On March 31, 2014, Guerrero signed a one-day contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and officially retired from professional baseball. Having played his last game in 2011, he became eligible for induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017.
On January 24, 2018, Guerrero, along with Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, and Trevor Hoffman, were announced as having over 75% of the votes needed to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was formally inducted on July 29, becoming the first member of the Hall to be depicted with an Angels cap.
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. To improve his grip on the bat, he coated his helmet with pine tar and rubbed his helmet before going to the on-deck circle. As the season progressed, his batting helmet would become covered in the substance.
Guerrero batted over .300 from 1997 to 2008. He drove in over 100 runs every season between 1998 and 2007, except for 2003. Along with his 2004 MVP season, he finished 6th (2000), 4th (2002), 3rd (2005), 9th (2006), and 3rd (2007) in MVP voting.
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.
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. 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 home runs, 34 doubles, and 70 RBI in 108 games. 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.
World Baseball Classic
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. 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.
Awards and honors
- 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)
- 4× 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
League top ten
- 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)
- List of Major League Baseball career home run leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career runs batted in leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career doubles leaders
- 30–30 club
- List of Major League Baseball players to hit for the cycle
- List of Major League Baseball annual runs scored leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career stolen bases leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career total bases leaders
- List of Major League Baseball players from the Dominican Republic
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- Paine, Neil (2018-01-24). "Vladimir Guerrero's Best Games Were In Montreal — And No One Saw Them". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2018-01-26.
- Stark, Jayson (April 24, 2008). "Identifying the most feared hitter in the bigs". ESPN.com.
- "Video: Guerrero hits ball that bounced".
- "Ballot 10: Vlad and Manny". JoePosnanski.com. January 17, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
- Keith Sharon (28 July 2018). "Hall of Famers Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman show baseball's place in Orange County's heart". Orange County Register. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
On Sunday, Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman will join Alan Trammell, Jack Morris, Chipper Jones and Jim Thome as the 2018 inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
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