Photo credit: @ChicagoSports
By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez
Vladimir Guerrero was one of four players inducted to the 2018 National Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He opted to go into Cooperstown with the Los Angeles Angels hat instead of his first MLB team, the Montreal Expos. Guerrero is a pioneer for the Los Angeles Angels as he is the first ever member of the Angels to be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in their franchise history that began in 1961.
Not only is Guerrero the first ever to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame as an Angel, but he is also the first ever position player born in the Dominican Republic to go into Cooperstown–the other two are pitchers, Juan Marichal (1983)and Pedro Martinez (2015).
Guerrero was in New York and appeared on the MLB Network.
“I’m forever thankful, for this beautiful moment” Guerrero said through Jose Mota (Fox Sports interpreter and broadcast partner). At the BBWAA news conference Thursday at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan, New York. This was his first public appearance since his election. He was with the Class of 2018: Chipper Jones, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman.
I look at Vladdy and that reward for all that hard work,” Angels owner Arte Moreno said. “I look at the fans, because they got to see a great player–and we’ve had some really good players come through Anaheim. Obviously, Rod Carew was there, Nolan Ryan was there for a long time. There were a bunch of really good players. But to see someone wear our colors [entering the Hall] is a proud moment for our fans.”
With the Angels in six seasons, Guerrero hit .319 with 173 home runs, 616 runs batted in in 846 games and won the American League MVP in 2004. Previously with the Expos, he played eight years with .323 with 234 home runs as well as 702 runs batted in 1,004 games. His last two seasons were in 2010 with the Rangers, where he played 152 games .300 with 29 home runs and 115 runs batted in, and in 2011 with the Baltimore Orioles, where he played 145 games, hit .290 with 13 home runs and 63 runs batted in.
For the very humble man from the Dominican Republic, this was his greatest moment in his professional baseball career, which he is enjoying with all his family. He will still have to make an acceptance speech on July 29th when his plaque will be unveiled at Cooperstown.
Covering Vladimir Guerrero was a real pleasure. He was a man that played with tremendous joy of the game. He had a truly stellar career where he played with class and great dignity. He was also a consummate five-tools baseball player with one of the best arms from right field in recorded history. Not to mention one of the most popular baseball players ever. I am sure I will see him again this season in Anaheim.
Felicidades Vladimir. Te lo mereces.