Strong all-around game boosts Vlad's Hall bid
Slugger hit 449 homers for four teams during his 16-year career
Tim Raines believes he will not be the last member of the Expos to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He thinks Vladimir Guerrero could be enshrined in Cooperstown as early as this year.
"I'm not sure if he is going in as an Expo or not," Raines said recently. "There's one guy left, and I was able to play with him as well."
Live coverage of the 2018 Hall of Fame announcement begins Wednesday at noon PT on MLB Network, simulcast live on MLB.com, with the electees named at 3 p.m.
During his 16 years in the big leagues from 1996 to 2011, which included stints with the Expos, Angels, Rangers and Orioles, Guerrero spent most of his career as an outfielder, hitting .318 with 449 home runs and 1,496 RBIs. He was rewarded with nine All-Star Game appearances.
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To say Guerrero was a free swinger is an understatement. For example, while playing for the Angels in 2009, he hit a ball that bounced in the dirt before he blooped it into left field for a single against the Orioles.
Even as a designated hitter, Guerrero was lethal enough to help the Rangers reach the World Series in 2010. He won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in '04 after guiding the Angels to the AL West crown. Possessing one of the best throwing arms among outfielders of his time, Guerrero threw out 124 baserunners.
"Obviously he could run, he could throw, he was about as complete of a player as a person could be," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who managed Guerrero for six seasons. "Inside, he has tremendous competitive drive that we saw when he was playing with us. He wanted to do well and he wanted the team to do well.
"I know the first time that he joined us in 2004, we made the playoffs. It was his first shot at it. There wasn't a guy more excited in Major League Baseball than Vlad Guerrero to finally get a chance to play in the playoffs."
As good as he was, Guerrero was not elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility last year. He was named on 71.7 percent of the ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. A player's name must appear on at least 75 percent of the ballots to be elected, and voters can list up to 10 names.
The induction ceremony will be held on July 29 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
"There is no doubt in my mind he is a Hall of Famer," Scioscia said. "He should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He will be a Hall of Famer."