He was a singular talent that will never be forgotten.
Vladimir Guerrero's five-tool arsenal, his violently poetic right-handed swing and his All-Star smile ... all that and a lot more added up to one of the most uniquely brilliant outfielders of his generation and one that seems destined for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
:: 2017 Hall of Fame election coverage ::
It just won't happen his first time on the ballot.
Guerrero finished fifth among the 34 players listed on the ballot for 2017 as results were revealed Wednesday on MLB Network, debuting with an impressive showing by being named on 71.7 percent of the 442 ballots of eligible Baseball Writers' Association of America voters. Guerrero is well positioned to reach 75 percent next year or in the coming years, of which he has nine more on the ballot.
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On Wednesday, Jeff Bagwell (86.2 percent), Tim Raines (86 percent) and Ivan Rodriguez (76 percent) received enough votes for induction. Trevor Hoffman received 74 percent, and Guerrero ranked ahead of Edgar Martinez (58.6 percent), Roger Clemens (54.1) and Barry Bonds (53.8).
"There's no doubt that Vlad's career points to the Hall of Fame, and that's what's important," said Mike Scioscia, Guerrero's manager with the Angels from 2004-09.
:: 2017 Hall of Fame election results ::
"I think that not making it as a first-ballot Hall of Famer isn't necessarily a slight. To get into that group, sometimes it takes a little patience. But there's no doubt."
Guerrero's achievements on the field and the fear he struck in the hearts of the best pitchers in the game are the qualities that should eventually get him in.
Guerrero finished his career with a line of .318/.379/.553. He hit 449 home runs and drove in 1,496 runs. He had 2,590 hits and 1,328 runs scored. Early in his career, Guerrero was a serious threat on the bases, stealing 40 bags in '02, 37 in '01 and 181 in his career. He was a nine-time All-Star.
And in '04, in his first season after leaving Montreal for a free-agent deal with the Angels, Guerrero won the American League MVP Award with a line of .337/.391/.598, 39 homers, 126 RBIs, 124 runs, 39 doubles and 15 stolen bases. He also slashed .363/.424/.726 with 11 homers and 25 RBIs in the final month of that season as his club rallied to win the American League West.
"With Vlad, it was so much more than the numbers, though," said Guerrero's former Angels teammate Darin Erstad. "It was how he did it. Just pure, freakish talent, the most incredible hand-eye coordination you've ever seen. It was like every day at the park you'd see something you'd never seen before."
Former big leaguer Rex Hudler, who covered Guerrero as an Angels broadcaster before his current job in Kansas City, described Guerrero's strike zone as "from his toes to his nose." Any pitch was fair game to be crushed by Guerrero, who was gifted with an enormous wingspan and lightning-quick wrists.
"I know that eventually he'll be recognized with that great honor," Scioscia said. "I don't think there was a more dominant player for such a long stretch of time as Vlad was in two leagues, and his talent is very evident when you compare some of his accomplishments with some of the all-time greats.
"I'm sure he'll get it."