Vladimir Guerrero is now the 4th primary Montréal Expos player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Guerrero made the cut with 392 of 422 votes for a 92.9% percentage; players only need 75% to get into the Hall.
Guerrero in 2018 follows Tim Raines (2017); Andre Dawson (2010); and Gary Carter (2003) as primary Montréal Expos players in the Hall.
He got into the Hall of Fame in his second year. Last year, Guerrero got 71.7% of the vote. You might recall that Raines needed the full 10 years to get into the Hall of Fame.
Guerrero is the 3rd person from the Dominican Republic to make the Baseball Hall of Fame and the first position player. Pitcher Juan Marichal and former Expos hurler Pedro Martinez were the others. Martinez and Guerrero were briefly teammates with Les Expos.
Guerrero started his career with the Expos in 1996 and played there until 2003. He later played with Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels, Texas, and Baltimore. He tried to make a comeback in 2012 with the Toronto Blue Jays but the comeback did not materialize.
Guerrero's best year in Montréal might have been 2002. He finished 4th in MVP voting, led the National League in hits and total bases, hit .336, had 39 HR and 40 SB (second straight year in the 30/30 club), and won the Silver Slugger. As an Expo, he reached the All-Star Game from 1999-2002 and top 10 in MVP voting in 2000 (6th) and 2002 (4th). He hit 30 or more HRs from 1998-2002.
Guerrero hit .323 with 234 of his 449 HR; 702 of his 1496 RBI; 123 of his 181 SB as a member of the Expos.
Overall, Guerrero did win the MVP in his first year away from Montréal in 2004. He hit. 300 or better 12 seasons in a row from 1997-2008.
Guerrero's prowess as a defensive player should have been lit up with Gold Gloves. yet Guerrero never won the award. Those who dared to run on his legendary powerful right arm often paid the price.
Guerrero was tops in assists in 2001-2002 and in the top 5 in 4 other years with the Expos. He was top 5 in double plays as a right fielder from 1997-2002, leading the league in 2001. Many more runners chose not to take an extra base thanks to his arm.
Vladimir Guerrero might be the final primary Montréal Expos player in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Guerrero had an impressive run with the Expos when he jumped to the American League after the 2003 season. But re-signing with the team would have been difficult given MLB's intention to move the team, which happened after the 2004 season.
Like his last Expos manager Frank Robinson, Guerrero did win a MVP award the year after leaving his initial team and jumping to the American League.
Montréal Expos fans have treated Guerrero warmly in return visits during Toronto Blue Jays exhibitions in Olympic Stadium. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could be a part of the Blue Jays team in Montréal in 2018. While the younger Guerrero is one of the MLB top prospects, he will only turn 19 on March 16.
When you sit far away at a baseball game, you may not really get a sense of the size of MLB players. I recall an Expos game on the south side of Chicago and I was in the right field beer garden. The first hitter for the White Sox hit a drive into right field. I watched as Guerrero came toward me. The fence separated us not by much. Guerrero was a huge physical force. His throw was spectacular, especially from that angle. He was an amazing talent.
Guerrero made the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017. He will be inducted in the Class of 2018 on July 29.
photos credit: MLB