Dan's Dugout: Vlad to be an Angel in Hall • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Vlad to be an Angel in Hall


NEW YORK – The Latino wing of the Hall of Fame is growing.

Vladimir Guerrero was just elected, Edgar Martinez just missed, and Mariano Rivera is virtually certain to join the ranks of Cooperstown next year.

Vladimir Guerrero is the first Dominican position player in Cooperstown

Guerrero, who divided most of his career between the Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Angels, was one of four newly-minted Hall of Famers introduced to the media in Manhattan Thursday at the St. Regis Hotel.

Joined by Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, and Trevor Hoffman, he told the media he was honored not just for himself but for the Dominican Republic and all of Latin America.

He was the third Dominican native chosen, following Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez, but the first position player. He’ll be joined by David (Big Papi) Ortiz in 2022 and the still-active Adrian Beltre five years after his retirement.

A rightfielder with a cannon of a throwing arm, Guerrero was arguably the best bad-ball hitter since Yogi Berra. He finished with a .313 batting average and 449 home runs, including 30 in a season eight times.

The nine-time All-Star and one-time American League MVP led the Angels to five AL West titles.

Vladimir Guerrero finished his career with the 2011 Orioles
Credit: Keith Allison

At the time of his retirement with the 2011 Baltimore Orioles, he led active outfielders with 125 errors and ranked second with 126 assists. He also spent a year with the Texas Rangers.

Fellow Dominican Felipe Alou, his first manager in Montreal, was the man who influenced him the most, Guerrero said Thursday. He also spent a short time with his brother Wilton while with the Expos.

But Guerrero wants to be remembered as an Angel.

Aided by a Spanish language interpreter, he surprised the crowd by announcing his bronze plaque will feature an Angels hat.

That announcement, which prompted a flurry of quelle domage complaints from north of the border, was cheered by current team owner Arte Moreno, who attended the press event.

The only gap in Guerrero’s resume is the absence of a world championship ring. In fact, the four new members combined produced only one – by Chipper Jones with the 1995 Braves.

Chipper Jones was a runaway choice for Cooperstown this year
Credit: Bill Menzel

The four new Hall of Famers all received the required the minimum 75 per cent of the vote from the Baseball Writers Association of America [BBWAA]. Edgar Martinez fell fewer than five percentage points short.

Jones, a switch-hitter who spent his entire 19-year career with the Atlanta Braves, led the way with more than 97 per cent of the vote.

Along with Veterans Committee choices Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, they’ll be installed July 29 at the Clark Sports Center, about a mile from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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