Vladimir Alvino Guerrero (born February 9, 1976 in Nizao, Peravia, Dominican Republic) is a Major League Baseball player currently with the Texas Rangers. Many feel he is the best all-round player in the Majors because he regularly hits for a high average, hits for power, steals bases, has a reputation of having one of the best outfield arms in baseball and fields his position at a high level.
His nickname among peers and commentators is "Vladdy". Another popular nickname of his is Vlad the Impaler for his hard hitting ability against other teams.
Vladimir was a free agent for the first time after the 2003 season, and he signed with the then-Anaheim Angels, after being courted by several teams. The owner of the Angels, Arte Moreno, is the first Hispanic owner of a Major League ballclub, and Guerrero has cited Moreno's being Hispanic as one motivating factor for choosing the Angels over other teams.
Early career Edit
Vladimir was criticized during his rookie season of 1997 for being too aggressive at the plate. Nonetheless, he put up solid numbers, batting .302 with 11 HRs and 40 RBIs in just 325 at-bats.
Best years Edit
Premature scorn for Vladdy's free swinging ways changed into admiration in 1998. While he continued to swing at pitches that were clearly balls, he also continued to hit them and, as of 2004, has never struck out 100 times in a single season. Vladimir batted .324 with 38 HRs and 109 RBIs in 1998 and posted similar or slightly improved numbers through the 2002 season. Vladimir also developed a running game, stealing 37 bases in 2001 and 40 in 2002. He narrowly missed entering the 40/40 club that season, hitting 39 homeruns.
Vladimir's 2003 season was shortened due to injury. In limited at-bats, he hit .330 with 25 HRs and 79 RBIs. Because of the injury, some in the media thought him to be a risky signing, since one never knows how well a player will recover. (E.g., Ken Griffey, Jr. has had a string of injuries since joining the Reds, and has not put up the kind of numbers that he did when with the Mariners. Yet he still commands a high salary.)
In 2004 Guerrero returned to form, hitting .337 with 39 home runs and 126 RBI's. He was named the American League MVP. Mike Scioscia, the Angels manager, said that Guerrero "really carried us on his back" in the last month, as the Angels barely overtook first place from the faltering Oakland A's, who finished one game behind in the standings. As one example, he hit six home runs in his last six games of the regular season, leading the Angels to their first Western Division title since 1986. (The Angels won the 2002 World Series as the A.L. Wild Card.)
- American League MVP (2004)
- 8-time All-Star (1999-2002, 2004-07)
- Finished 4th in National League MVP voting (2002)
- Finished 6th in National League MVP voting (2000)
- Hit 30+ home runs and stole 30+ bases (2001, 2002) (see 30-30 club)
- Fell one home run short of being the 4th member of the 40-40 Club (2002)
- Hit for the cycle (2003)
- Member of Major League Baseball's Latino Legends Team
|American League Most Valuable Player|