An LA Angels Tribute to Vladdy
Beyond excelling on the field as one of the greatest Angels to ever play, Vladimir Guerrero represented the Hispanic and Latino community off the field. For that he will always be an icon for the Los Angeles Angels
To many Vladimir Guerrero is simply a baseball player. Beginning his career with the Montreal Expos, the Dominican Republic native quickly grew into one of the game’s better players.
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Entering the 2004 season, Guerrero was regarded as one of the top free agents on the market. Still young and entering his prime, Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno saw an opportunity. As the first Hispanic majority owner in Major League Baseball, Guerrero saw this as a major incentive. Thus he signed a 5 year, $70 million dollar contract that offseason, kicking off a marvelous stretch of baseball.
Vladdy wasted no time living up to the contract. The 2004 AL MVP putting up remarkable numbers that rival Mike Trout today. With a .337 batting average, 124 runs, 126 RBIs, .989 OPS, and 39 home runs, Guerrero single handily carried the Angels to their first AL West title since 1986. Notably the AL Player of the Month for September that season, it became apparent that Moreno may have completed the best transaction of his life by signing Vlad.
Guerrero continued to dominate for the Angels, leading them to five division titles in his six seasons with the club (only missing the playoffs in 2006 despite an 89-win year). He earned top ten finishes in MVP four seasons and appeared in four All-Star games for the club.
Of course beyond his elite player on the baseball field, Guerrero embodied a community. He represented a hero, icon, and role model for success to the Hispanic community to Southern California. His humble beginnings (one of nine children) connected to many who could not afford tickets, but admired from home.
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To many, Guerrero is their favorite Angels player for good reason. He battled injuries and adversity, dominated the field with defense and offense, and connected with the community. To that, I have just three words: Thank You Vladdy.