Vlad officially retires with the Angels
ANAHEIM -- Can Vladimir Guerrero be the first player to enter the Hall of Fame with an Angels hat?
It's very possible.
The Angels signed Guerrero to a one-day contract on the field Monday, seconds before he would throw out the ceremonial first pitch to kick off Opening Day, so that he could officially retire with the organization. Guerrero, 39, spent six of his 16 years with the Angels, joining Don Baylor, who suffered a fractured right femur while catching the first pitch, as the only MVPs in team history.
But he spent his first eight with the Montreal Expos.
"I feel like this is the team I can go in with, since I played six years here," Guerrero, speaking in Spanish, said of the Angels. "The Montreal Expos signed me, but they aren't in the big leagues anymore."
That doesn't necessarily mean he can't go into Cooperstown with the Expos, though.
Montreal hasn't had its Major League franchise since the end of the 2004 season, but outfielder Andre Dawson (2010) and manager Dick Williams (2008) have since entered with the organization. Both, however, has an extensive tenure with the Expos. And for Guerrero, it may be close enough that the Baseball Hall of Fame sides with the organization that's still around.
Guerrero signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Angels in January 2004, won the American League MVP in his first year and finished his tenure in Anaheim batting .319/.381/.546 while averaging 29 homers and 103 RBIs per season. Before that, though, he was signed by the Expos out of the Dominican Republic, spent his first eight years in Montreal and put up monstrous numbers in his last six, batting .326/.395/.600 while averaging 37 homers and 110 RBIs.
First, Guerrero -- .318/.379/.553 career slash line, 449 homers, 181 stolen bases and one of the best outfield arms in history -- actually has to get in the Hall of Fame.
"I'm not thinking about that right now," said Guerrero, who's eligible to enter with the 2017 class. "I just hope that God gives me good health, and I'll just wait and see what happens."