Vlad The Great

Maybe it’s the fact that he still addresses the press with the help of an interpreter.  Maybe it’s because his first eight seasons in the big leagues were spent with the woebegone Montreal Expos, a team that barely survived MLB contraction (only to resurface as the equally miserable Washington Nationals).  Or maybe it’s just the fact that he prefers to stay out of the spotlight.

Whatever it is, Vladimir Guerrero has had one of the most unheralded careers that an 8-time All-Star and one-time American League MVP (in 2004) could possibly have under the circumstances.

It was great, then, to see Vlad reach the 400-home-run milestone last night for the Los Angeles Angels in their victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in front of the hometown fans in Anaheim.

Vladimir Guerrero celebrates career home run #400

Vladimir Guerrero celebrates career home run #400

Manager Mike Scioscia took the opportunity to herald Guerrero’s “Hall of Fame career” and Stan McNeal of The Sporting News agrees that Vlad is a lock for Cooperstown.

Consider this – Guerrero was able to reach 400 home runs with a career batting average better than .320, becoming only the 6th player in major league history to do so, joining legendary Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig and Stan Musial in that exclusive class.

The biggest knock on Guerrero, if there is one, has been his relatively paltry postseason numbers.  A .240 average with 1 home run and 7 RBI in 75 at-bats is not getting it done.  Fortunately for Guerrero, with the Angels likely to make their perennial trip to the playoffs again in 2009, Vlad has a chance to improve on his stats.  And, in his defense, he did go 7 for 15 in last year’s Divisional Series against the Boston Red Sox, so perhaps he is on the verge of a breakout.

In this era, one can only hope that the superstars don’t wind up on an infamous “user” list along with so many other fallen stars.  So far, so good for fans of Vladdy.  Let’s hope it stays that way. 

And, maybe this is the year that he shines in that World Series spotlight to officially cement what, by all accounts, appears to be a career for the ages.

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~ by acm213 on August 11, 2009.

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