Vladimir Guerrerro Officially Retires

Lost amidst the return of Football and the exciting Wild Card chase was another major retirement. Quietly after failing to latch on to an MLB team this year, he told a radio station in his native Dominican Republic that he was calling it a career.

Guerrero had his best seasons with the Montreal Expos and the Anaheim Angels and won the 2004 AL MVP with the latter. In looking at his overall statistics, it would appear that he is a decent candidate, though far from a lock. On the radio interview, he mentioned that his biggest regret was failing to hit the 500 Home Run mark (he belted 449), and he was not linked to PEDs. Actually, the fact that he was done at the age of 36 (he last played in the Majors two years ago) shows a decline that reflects age, which in this day in age, is actually a positive indicating he may have been clean.

The nine time All-Star has a career OPS of .935 (35th All-Time), A Slugging Percentage of .553 (25th All-Time), and has a JAWS of 50.9 which puts him in the Hall of Fame hunt. He is one of those players who right now feels like you could be talked into Cooperstown or talked out of, and if that is the feeling that others have, we may see another Fred McGriff on the ballot. This one is going to be VERY interesting.
Last modified on Thursday, 19 March 2015 18:47
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+1 #1 Darryl Tahirali 2013-09-15 21:04
Todd Helton's retirement was also announced this weekend. That too will generate some discussion, though in Helton's case it will be the Coors Effect as he played his entire career with the Rockies.

As long as Hall voters realize, by the time Guerrero is on the ballot, that in the current era we need to look at least as much at players' peaks and periods of dominance as at cumulative counting stats, then Vladdy has a real shot at the Hall. Unlike Fred McGriff, who was always a respected hitter but never a dominant one, Vlad was one of MLB's most feared hitters in his prime. For instance, Guerrero led the league in intentional walks five times and is fifth lifetime in intentional passes--in the top ten all-time are Hall of Famers or those who will be (Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey, Jr.) or should be (Barry Bonds). (McGriff did lead the league in intentional walks once, and he is 31st all-time.)

Living in Orange County, California, and having attended many Angels games over the years, I've been fortunate to have seen in person Vladdy play in his prime many times. Guerrero was one of those players whose at-bat was not to be missed. And when he made contact, the sound of the ball exploding off his bat was unlike anyone else's I've ever heard.

Good point about the decline being "normal." In his last season with the Angels, it was apparent that his skills were eroding and that he wasn't the same dominant player in 2009 that he had been just a few years earlier. I've always thought his defense was overrated--h e did have a rocket for a right arm, but I've seen him make some dubious moves in right field.

That got played out on the national stage in the 2010 World Series when the Rangers put Vladdy in right field in San Francisco for Game Three. Not only is right field at AT&T one of the toughest in the majors, but Guerrero hadn't played the field consistently for the last couple of season--and he looked like a Bad News Bear out there.

Still, if BBWAA voters in 2019 look a little more closely at Vladimir Guerrero's career, they will find it easier to consider him for the Hall.

[Edit/Update 9/19/13]: Some sources list Guerrero's Hall eligibility as 2017, not 2019. He announced his retirement formally this year, but he has not played in MLB since 2011.

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