Big Bad Vlad Guerrero: Hall of Famer?

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Updated: November 28, 2016

There was something different about him. The man could flat out hit, and hit it hard. He would swing at pitches coaches have been teaching for decades to avoid; a foot off the outside, bouncing in the dirt, up at the eyes. Not only would he swing at them, but he would hit them – hard. Vladimir Guerrero would lumber up to the plate with that massive frame, bare hand grip on that huge bat, and a look in his eyes that said, ‘If I can see it, I can hit it…’ and sometimes even if he couldn’t see it he would hit it. The man was a legend.

He could hit, he could run, he could throw the ball from one end of the stadium to the other (not always on target,) and the man could seriously hit. Personally, I remember when the Angels signed him; they came out of nowhere, there were no rumors or talk of him going there before Arte Moreno reeled him in.

It was the beginning of the Angels being a big market team, and it sparked the run of consistent contention the Angels had from ’04 to ’09. He was the most fun player to watch the Angels had ever had, capable of doing something exciting or terrifying every time he came to bat or fielded a ball in right field with a runner breaking for home.

He won the MVP his first year with the Angels, hit a game-tying grand slam in the playoffs that same year, and was everything a superstar free agent is meant to be. In six seasons in Anaheim he put up a slash line of .319/.381/.546 with an OPS of .927, 173 home runs, 616 RBI’s, 1,034, and 544 runs scored, leading the Angels to the playoffs in ’04, ’05, and ’07-’09. This year, Vlad’s name appears on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, and his case is interesting.

With an overall line of .318/.379/.553 with 449 home runs, 1,496 RBI’s, 2,590 hits, and 1,328 runs scored, and 59.3 career WAR, his numbers compare to hall of famers like Jim Rice, Willie Stargell, Duke Snider, and Billy Williams, as well as Hall of Fame hopefuls like Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker, and his Hall of Fame scores score him out as an average hall of famer. His case is not as strong, probably, as someone like Bagwell, who’s continued exclusion from the hall is a travesty best saved for another day.

This year, he will most likely finish outside of the seventy-five percent of votes needed. Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Trevor Hoffman all finished with strong percentages last year and could be inducted this year, which will hurt Guerrero on this ballot. Manny Ramirez and Ivan Rodriguez are both up for induction for the first time with Guerrero, although PED suspicions and suspensions will hurt both of their cases big time and may help Guerrero this year, who was never connected to rumors of PED use.

Future ballots will begin to make it a bit tougher for Vlad though, when players like Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Lance Berkman, and Derek Jeter show up to potentially take votes away from Guerrero. The other big question that remains if Guerrero were to be elected is which team Guerrero would represent. The Angels have no player representation in the hall, with Nolan Ryan electing to enter as a Texas Ranger for some reason, and Guerrero is the first player of significance the Angels have had with a real chance of being elected and representing the team.

I don’t think that Guerrero will be elected to the Hall of Fame; his numbers are strong, but so were lots of players playing during that time, and voters have shown that they’re just going to lay down a blanket punishment for all position players who played during the steroid era regardless of connections or rumors, fair or not. (Not.) Comparable players have just not received the support necessary. Those position players listed above are the only position players of significance coming up for induction in the next few years, so maybe he gets in with a lack of comparable competition as others begin to drop off with the new ten-year limit, but it won’t be for at least a few years.

Even if Guerrero does get in, though, I think it’s pretty obvious that he’ll go in as a member of the Montreal Expos. While it’s true that his most meaningful years came with the Angels as they were contenders pretty much every year he was there, he played longer and put up more stats with the Expos.

In my mind and heart, Vlad is a hall of famer, and he made a huge impression on the Angels and their fans in his time here. Here’s hoping Big Daddy Vladdy makes it into the hall wearing a Halo after all.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
1996 21 MON NL 9 27 27 2 5 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 3 .185 .185 .296 .481 24 8 1 0 0 0 0 /98
1997 22 MON NL 90 354 325 44 98 22 2 11 40 3 4 19 39 .302 .350 .483 .833 117 157 11 7 0 3 2 9/8 RoY-6
1998 23 MON NL 159 677 623 108 202 37 7 38 109 11 9 42 95 .324 .371 .589 .960 150 367 15 7 0 5 13 *9 MVP-13
1999 ★ 24 MON NL 160 674 610 102 193 37 5 42 131 14 7 55 62 .316 .378 .600 .978 146 366 18 7 0 2 14 *9 AS,MVP-11,SS
2000 ★ 25 MON NL 154 641 571 101 197 28 11 44 123 9 10 58 74 .345 .410 .664 1.074 162 379 15 8 0 4 23 *9/D AS,MVP-6,SS
2001 ★ 26 MON NL 159 671 599 107 184 45 4 34 108 37 16 60 88 .307 .377 .566 .943 139 339 24 9 0 3 24 *9 AS,MVP-24
2002 ★ 27 MON NL 161 709 614 106 206 37 2 39 111 40 20 84 70 .336 .417 .593 1.010 160 364 20 6 0 5 32 *9 AS,MVP-4,SS
2003 28 MON NL 112 467 394 71 130 20 3 25 79 9 5 63 53 .330 .426 .586 1.012 156 231 18 6 0 4 22 *9 MVP-17
2004 ★ 29 ANA AL 156 680 612 124 206 39 2 39 126 15 3 52 74 .337 .391 .598 .989 157 366 19 8 0 8 14 *9D AS,MVP-1,SS
2005 ★ 30 LAA AL 141 594 520 95 165 29 2 32 108 13 1 61 48 .317 .394 .565 .959 154 294 16 8 0 5 26 *9D AS,MVP-3,SS
2006 ★ 31 LAA AL 156 665 607 92 200 34 1 33 116 15 5 50 68 .329 .382 .552 .934 138 335 16 4 0 4 25 *9D AS,MVP-9,SS
2007 ★ 32 LAA AL 150 660 574 89 186 45 1 27 125 2 3 71 62 .324 .403 .547 .950 147 314 19 9 0 6 28 9D AS,MVP-3,SS
2008 33 LAA AL 143 600 541 85 164 31 3 27 91 5 3 51 77 .303 .365 .521 .886 130 282 27 4 0 4 16 9D MVP-14
2009 34 LAA AL 100 407 383 59 113 16 1 15 50 2 1 19 56 .295 .334 .460 .794 107 176 16 4 0 1 3 D/9
2010 ★ 35 TEX AL 152 643 593 83 178 27 1 29 115 4 5 35 60 .300 .345 .496 .841 119 294 19 9 0 6 5 *D9/7 AS,MVP-11,SS
2011 36 BAL AL 145 590 562 60 163 30 1 13 63 2 2 17 56 .290 .317 .416 .733 98 234 23 7 0 4 3 *D
16 Yrs 2147 9059 8155 1328 2590 477 46 449 1496 181 94 737 985 .318 .379 .553 .931 140 4506 277 103 0 64 250
162 Game Avg. 162 684 615 100 195 36 3 34 113 14 7 56 74 .318 .379 .553 .931 140 340 21 8 0 5 19
MON (8 yrs) 1004 4220 3763 641 1215 226 34 234 702 123 71 381 484 .323 .390 .588 .978 148 2211 122 50 0 26 130
LAA (6 yrs) 846 3606 3237 544 1034 194 10 173 616 52 16 304 385 .319 .381 .546 .927 141 1767 113 37 0 28 112
TEX (1 yr) 152 643 593 83 178 27 1 29 115 4 5 35 60 .300 .345 .496 .841 119 294 19 9 0 6 5
BAL (1 yr) 145 590 562 60 163 30 1 13 63 2 2 17 56 .290 .317 .416 .733 98 234 23 7 0 4 3
AL (8 yrs) 1143 4839 4392 687 1375 251 12 215 794 58 23 356 501 .313 .369 .523 .891 133 2295 155 53 0 38 120
NL (8 yrs) 1004 4220 3763 641 1215 226 34 234 702 123 71 381 484 .323 .390 .588 .978 148 2211 122 50 0 26 130
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/27/2016.

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