ANAHEIM -- This summer, Vladimir Guerrero will become the first player to enter the Hall of Fame as an Angel. Could he also become the seventh person to have his number retired by the franchise?The Angels have retired only six numbers in their 57-year history, honoring six-time All-Star shortstop Jim
ANAHEIM -- This summer, Vladimir Guerrero will become the first player to enter the Hall of Fame as an Angel. Could he also become the seventh person to have his number retired by the franchise?
The Angels have retired only six numbers in their 57-year history, honoring six-time All-Star shortstop Jim Fregosi (No. 11), Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan (No. 30) and Rod Carew (No. 29), longtime coach Jimmie Reese (No. 50), founding owner Gene Autry (No. 26) and Jackie Robinson (No. 42).
In recent years, the Angels have paid tribute to their rich history by welcoming more players into their Hall of Fame, but they haven't retired a number since 1998, when Fregosi received the exclusive honor.
Guerrero seems like the best bet to break that drought, especially now that he's bound for Cooperstown. The Dominican slugger led the Angels to the playoffs in five of his six seasons in Anaheim and captured the 2004 American League MVP Award in his first year with the club. He remains the franchise's leader in batting average (.319) and ranks second in slugging percentage (.526) and sixth in home runs (173).
While the Angels have been discussing ways to celebrate Guerrero's induction into the Hall of Fame, they do not have any imminent plans to make those specifics public, according to vice president of communications Tim Mead.
"There's a lot of discussion on different aspects of it, but right now we're just kind of letting everything unfold in a timely manner for him and letting him enjoy it," Mead said.
Whether or not the Angels will retire Guerrero's No. 27 has another degree of intrigue, as the number is currently worn by star center fielder Michael Trout, a two-time AL MVP winner who is, by many measures, already the best player in franchise history. Trout has used No. 27 since breaking into the Majors in 2011, and he said in an interview with MLB Network last week that he'd be wary of parting with the number that has served him so well over his career.
"I'm real superstitious," Trout said. "Everybody knows that."
Even if the Angels decide to retire Guerrero's number, there is precedent for Trout to continue to wear No. 27. When Major League Baseball announced that it would retire Robinson's No. 42 in 1997, dozens of players -- most notably former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera -- were allowed to keep using the number. Rivera's 42 was retired upon his retirement as a player in 2013.
There have been at least four other instances of teams retiring a number in honor of two players: the Yankees retired No. 8 for Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra; the Cubs retired No. 31 for Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux; the Expos retired No. 10 for Rusty Staub and Andre Dawson; and the Cardinals retired No. 42 for Bruce Sutter and Robinson.
With Guerrero already guaranteed a plaque in Cooperstown and Trout on his own Hall of Fame track, the Angels could one day join the list with No. 27.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.