ARLINGTON -- A few moments stand out from Vladimir Guerrero's one season with the Rangers in 2010. One came in the decisive Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Rays.The Rangers, holding a 2-1 lead, had runners on first and second with one out in the sixth
ARLINGTON -- A few moments stand out from Vladimir Guerrero's one season with the Rangers in 2010. One came in the decisive Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Rays.
The Rangers, holding a 2-1 lead, had runners on first and second with one out in the sixth against Rays pitcher David Price. Guerrero was the runner at second. Ian Kinsler hit a grounder to first baseman Carlos Pena, who went for the inning-ending double play. But Price, covering first base, took the return throw and missed the bag for the third out.
Guerrero kept running from second and scored on the play.
"When the ball was hit for a double play, I saw the pitcher didn't tag," Guerrero said. "He gave me a chance, took a long time. I saw it and kept running, that's why I had a chance to score from second."
Another came in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series against the Yankees. The Rangers needed one more win to advance to the World Series and the score was tied, 1-1, in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and a runner at second, the Yankees walked Josh Hamilton intentionally so Phil Hughes could pitch to Guerrero.
"I remember they walked Hamilton twice ahead of me in the game," Guerrero said. "I was thinking I had to do something."
Guerrero did. He hit a two-run double to put the Rangers ahead. Nelson Cruz followed with a two-run home run and the Rangers went to the World Series after a 6-1 victory.
That above all stands out for Guerrero as the Rangers honor him before Saturday's game against the Orioles. Texas will pay tribute to a Hall of Famer who made a significant contribution to the franchise in just one season.
"Six years playing in the American League with [the Angels]," Guerrero said. "Then one year I come to Texas and play, and we make it to the World Series, that's what stands out."
The Rangers might not have made it without Guerrero, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. He was signed on Jan. 18, 2010, to be the Rangers' designated hitter, and give them a presence in the middle of their order.
Guerrero spent the previous five seasons with the Angels, but injuries had impaired him in 2009. He was coming off a subpar year and was unsigned into January when general manager Jon Daniels and then-manager Ron Washington led a delegation of Rangers officials to California for a visit at Guerrero's home.
"[Washington] and I talked man to man," Guerrero said. "It was the chat we had together and he told me I was going to hit fourth. I said, 'I don't care what part of the lineup you put me in, I just want to play every day.' Fortunately for me we had a good start, and we won the division and we went to the World Series that I had never been to, so I was happy and fortunate to be there."
Guerrero delivered exactly what Texas needed offensively, hitting .300 with 29 home runs and club-leading 115 RBIs. But there was more.
"He helped me a lot," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "He was a great leader. I always asked him, especially RBI situations. You could see how good he was. Not only did he have a lot of home runs, but people in scoring position, he would get a base hit the other way without hesitation. I asked him a lot of questions about his approach to the game, and he always gave me good advice and told me to play hard."
The Rangers had been in rebuilding mode for three years and were getting close in 2010. They had a talented young lineup that included Andrus, Hamilton, Cruz, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, David Murphy and others. Guerrero was the right player to add to that mix.
"The main thing was, we played as a team," Guerrero said. "Being in a group, dealing with the young guys who were following us, we tried to lead but we played together. We knew we were going to lose games, but if you lose games, don't give up, keep your heads up and keep fighting. We played as a whole team, all together, that's the way we played and that's why we won, we were playing as a real team."
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.