Vlad's the man! Guerrero gets Cooperstown call

Longtime Expo, Angel earned All-Star nod in one season with Rangers

January 25th, 2018

Vladimir Guerrero was probably already on his way toward Cooperstown when he stopped through Arlington. Now, the former slugger certainly is, after Guerrero was elected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America as part of a four-member group added to the Hall of Fame's Class of 2018 on Wednesday.
The free-swinging, five-tool outfielder earned 92.9 percent of the vote in his second year of eligibility. He'll be inducted in Cooperstown, N.Y, on July 29, along with fellow BBWAA electees Chipper Jones, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman, as well as Modern Era Committee electees Jack Morris and Alan Trammell.
2018 Hall of Fame election results | Full coverage
"Thank you very much to the writers and to those who considered my career what it was," Guerrero said through interpreter Jose Mota. "Last year, I recall coming so close, and that made me feel really good. It made me very thankful. I am very proud of what I have accomplished, and thankful to God, number one, for family and to be the third Dominican inducted into the Hall of Fame."

Guerrero is the seventh player to wear a Rangers uniform elected into the Hall, and just the second position player, joining 2017 inductee Ivan Rodriguez. Rodriguez went in wearing a Rangers cap. Guerrero won't, after enjoying his most productive seasons in Montreal and Anaheim, but he certainly made an impact during his lone year in the Lone Star state. A productive Guerrero helped Texas capture its first American League pennant in 2010, a year that helped pad a resume that'll now live in history.
"Vladdy was a huge part of an incredible time for our organization and our fans," said former teammate Michael Young, an infielder on that 2010 team. "He was a clear Hall of Fame talent, and left a division rival to come our way. He fit in perfectly from Day 1. We were all amazed at his competitiveness. He's a proud man, expected a lot of himself, and was a fantastic teammate. He was only here a year, but left a huge footprint on our organization."

"It was very special because the Rangers represented a World Series opportunity for me, even though we came short of that goal," Guerrero said. "I go back and think about starting out with Montreal and the good teams we had there, winning division championships for the Angels and not getting to the World Series. Then getting the opportunity in Texas. It was so special that even though we didn't win, I felt compelled to throw a party in my hometown. It was a World Series party. It meant a lot to me."
Signed to a one-year, $5.5 million deal, Guerrero brought stability to the Rangers' designated hitter role and performed well in it. He became the first Rangers player in more than a decade to play at least 100 games at the DH spot, hitting .300/.345/.496 with 29 home runs and 115 RBIs. Guerrero was named to his ninth and final All-Star team that year, earned a Silver Slugger and placed 11th in AL Most Valuable Player Award voting.

"Vlad was a great teammate and leader for us in 2010," Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said. "His bat in the middle of the order was a huge reason our lineup produced, and his leadership really helped a number of our younger guys."
At age 35, Guerrero's bat slowed with the season. He struggled during the postseason, hitting just .220 without any home runs in 15 games. He managed just one hit in four games that World Series, which the Rangers lost to the Giants. It was Guerrero's only Fall Classic appearance.

Guerrero's career ended after one more season, with the Baltimore Orioles. He retired with a lifetime .318/.379/.553 line, 449 career home runs and 1496 RBIs, with nine All-Star selections, eight Silver Sluggers and the 2004 AL MVP Award. Guerrero led his league in hits and runs once, in total bases twice, and in intentional walks five times. He becomes the first Dominican-born position player to earn election into the Hall of Fame.
"I'm humbled to be the first [Dominican-born hitter to make the Hall]," Guerrero said. "There were so many great Dominican players before me, I never thought if I was elected I'd be the first position player. With David Ortiz, and , I certainly know I'll have some company very soon."

"Vladdy was the perfect example of a baseball player. I remember loving him from the time he broke into the Majors when I was in high school, so having a front row seat to watch him for an entire season was a treat," said former teammate and Rangers outfielder . "My favorite thing about him was the way he had so much fun playing the game, like a kid in a sandlot would."
Guerrero was one of six players with at least loose Rangers ties on the ballot, a group that included Sammy Sosa, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez and Kevin Millwood.
Sosa bookended a controversial 18-year career in Texas, where he spent his first and final season but hit relatively few home runs. Vizquel and Jones both spent 2009 with the Rangers, and for both players it was their only season with the club. Vizquel served as a utility infielder and mentor to budding shortstop , while Jones hit 17 home runs mostly as a designated hitter. Ramirez never appeared at the Major League level for Texas, but he did play 30 games for Triple-A Round Rock in 2013, two years after his final MLB at-bat. Millwood was 48-46 over four seasons with Texas, making 125 starts with a 4.57 ERA.
Vizquel (37 percent of the vote), Ramirez (22 percent), Sosa (7.8 percent) and Jones (7.3 percent) will all appear on the 2019 ballot. Millwood did not receive any votes and will not appear on the ballot again.