Say Goodbye: Vladimir Guerrero Retires From Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball has lost one of its greats. On September 3rd, 2013, from his home country of the Dominican Republic, 16 year MLB veteran Vladimir Guerrero has announced his retirement from the majors.
The 38 year old Guerrero, a native of the town Don Gregorio, Nizao, has stated that his retirement is due in part to a couple of injuries he has in his right knee, as well as spending time with his family, especially his son. It’s important to remember though that in recent years, Guerrero has had trouble finding work on any major league team, so this undoubtedly has some weight on his decision.
Vladimir Guerrero was signed by the now-defunct Montreal Expos as an amateur free agent on March 1, 1993 and spent three years in the minor leagues before making his debut in the majors on September 19,1996. Two days later, he would hit his first major league home run and ultimately paved his road to success as the best “bad-ball hitter” the game would ever see. This was witnessed during his first full season, where he was constantly hounded for being too aggressive at the plate, but despite this he still put up career numbers year after year.
When 2003 hit, Vlad found himself as a free agent for the first time in his professional career. He didn’t have to worry too much though, as he was sought after by various teams before settling with the Los Angeles Angels for a five year, $70 million deal. During his first full season with the Angels, he would go on to win Team MVP.
After his tenure with the Angels was over, Guerrero signed one year deals the rest of his career, with the Texas Rangers in 2010 and Baltimore Orioles in 2011. The Orioles provided him his last full season in Major League Baseball, as he remained unsigned in 2012 until the Toronto Blue Jays picked him up for a minor league contract. He performed well but was not promoted by the club, and was granted his release.
Since that time, Guerrero has tried playing in the Dominican Professional Baseball League and the Atlantic League, but has never managed to play full seasons with them, and has not returned to any sort of professional baseball since the start of the 2013 season.
Vlad has had an extremely robust baseball career, earning a total of 16 awards and honors for his fantastic hitting and fielding. He is only one of seven players in history to own a career batting average above .315 and have 440 home runs or more. Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial and Albert Pujols complete the group. In 1999 he managed to slug out hits in 31 consecutive games, and has also hit for the cycle in his career. He did have personal goals set out as well, but unfortunately he fell short of those goals. For one, he wanted to achieve the 500 home run mark, but ends up leaving the majors with 449.
Guerrero’s playing calibre is enough to land someone into the Hall of Fame. At some point, we may just see his name start showing up on ballots. The only problem is, if he was ever inducted would it be as an Angel or an Expo? Major League Baseball seems to like to forget that the Montreal Expos even existed. Either way, here’s his career lines with both teams:
Montreal Expos: 1004 G, 4220 PA, .323/.390/.588, 148 OPS+, 234 HR, 702 RBI, 123 SB, 34.6 WAR
Los Angeles Angels: 846 G, 3606 PA, .319/.381/.546, 141 OPS+, 173 HR, 616 RBI, 52 SB, 22.8 WAR, MVP award.
Although he is getting up there in age, it seems like he still maybe had a few more gallons in the tank. Its unfortunate to hear that Vlad wants to retire, and in such a way. This is a man who needs a goodbye parade after such an incredible career. Instead, most of this will go unnoticed. But as the best bad-ball hitter of this era (lets remember he actually hit a ball that bounced in front of home plate first!), Vladimir Guerrero deserves better. Lets hope he resurfaces again, so that he can be given his accolades.