Name: Vladimir Guerrero
Election: February 2, 2017
Induction: June 24, 2017
Born (date, year, place): February 9, 1975 in Don Gregorio, Nizao, Dominican Republic
Primary Position: Outfield
Years: 1996 to 2011
Teams: Montreal, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Texas, Baltimore
Born in 1975 in Don Gregorio Nizao, Dominican Republic, Guerrero boasted a tremendous combination of power and speed that, coupled with his strong throwing arm, made him one of baseball’s best all-around players during his eight seasons with the Montreal Expos. Signed as an amateur free agent by the Expos in 1993, Guerrero became a regular outfielder with the club in May 1997. After he belted 38 home runs in 1998, the five-tool outfielder made his first of four consecutive All-Star appearances in 1999. Two seasons later, he became the first Expo to record 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season, only to outdo himself the following campaign when he narrowly missed becoming the fourth member of Major League Baseball’s exclusive 40-40 club when he finished with 39 home runs and 40 stolen bases in 2002. That season, he also topped the league in hits (206) and total bases (364) and his 7.0 WAR was the second-best by a position player.
In all, in his eight seasons with the Expos from 1996 to 2003, Guerrero was a four-time All-Star (1999 to 2002), three-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1999-00, 2002) and he received MVP votes in six seasons. He also possessed one of baseball’s strongest arms and he topped National League right fielders in assists twice (2001, 2002). Guerrero also established all-time Expos records for batting average (.323), home runs (234), slugging percentage (.588) and on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) (.978).
Off the field, the Dominican slugger served as an outstanding ambassador for the club. While with the Expos, he provided tickets to home games for 10 different Montreal youth groups which enabled underprivileged children to attend games. He also sponsored a youth league and collected baseball equipment for young players in the Dominican Republic. For his humanitarian efforts, he was named the Expos’ Roberto Clemente Award nominee in 2001.
Following the 2003 campaign, Guerrero signed with the Los Angeles Angels and continued to be one of baseball’s most dangerous hitters. In his six seasons with the Angels, he was an all-star four times (2004-07), captured four Silver Slugger Awards (2004-07) and was named the American League MVP in 2004. He joined the Texas Rangers in 2010 and after clubbing 29 home runs and registering 115 RBI, he was selected to his ninth All-Star team, won his eighth Silver Slugger Award and was honoured with the Edgar Martinez Award, as the league’s top designated hitter.
In all, in his 16-year big league career, he batted .318, walloped 449 home runs (38th all-time) and recorded a .553 career slugging percentage, which ranks 24th all-time.
“I was surprised and excited to hear that I’m being inducted,” said Guerrero through a translator. “I knew that I would need to wait at least one more year to join the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but I’m very pleased to join the Canadian hall of fame first, since I was given my first opportunity to play major league baseball in Canada.”