Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Vladimir Alvino Guerrero (born February 9, 1976 in the Dominican Republic), nicknamed Vlad, Vlad The Impaler, Bad Vlad, and known in his native Dominican Republic as Miquéas (Spanish for Micah), is a Major League Baseball right fielder who plays for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He currently lives in Anaheim Hills, California.
Guerrero is widely recognized as one of the best all-around players in Major League Baseball. He regularly hits for power, has a high average, steals bases, and has a reputation of having one of the strongest outfield arms in baseball. Guerrero is also regarded as the game's premier "bad ball hitter" for his ability to crush balls thrown outside of the strike zone.
Vladimir was born on February 9, 1976 in Don Gregorio, Nizao, Dominican Republic. He is the younger brother of major leaguer Wilton Guerrero. They both played with the Montreal Expos. He is also the older brother of current minor leaguer Cristian Guerrero of the Harrisburg Senators.
Vladimir was criticized during his first full rookie season (he played 9 games in 1996) of 1997 for being too aggressive at the plate. Guerrero batted .324 with 38 HRs and 109 RBIs in 1998 and posted similar or slightly improved numbers through the 2002 season. He also developed a running game, stealing 37 bases in 2001 and 40 in 2002. He narrowly missed entering the 40-40 club that season, hitting 39 home runs.
Guerrero was a free agent for the first time after the 2003 season, and he signed with the then-Anaheim Angels after being courted by several teams. The owner of the Angels, Arte Moreno, is the first Latino controlling owner of a Major League ballclub, and Guerrero has cited Moreno's Latin heritage as a motivating factor for choosing the Angels over other teams. In 2004, Guerrero hit .337 with 39 home runs and 126 RBI's. Guerrero hit six home runs in his last six games of the 2004 regular season, leading the Angels to their first Western Division title since 1986. The Angels won the 2002 World Series as the American League Wild Card. These late-season heroics led to Guerrero being chosen as the 2004 AL MVP.
The Angels won the Western Division again in 2005, with Guerrero batting .317 with 32 home runs and 108 RBIs in 520 at bats. Guerrero was named to his 8th career Major League Baseball All-Star game, and subsequently won his first career Home Run Derby in the 2007 season, highlighted by a 503 foot home run.
American League MVP (2004)
8-time All-Star (1999-2002, 2004-07)
Home Run Derby Champion (2007). Bad Vlad walloped the ball at the Derby!
Finished 4th in National League MVP voting (2002)
Finished 6th in National League MVP voting (2000)
Hit 30+ home runs and stole 30+ bases (2001, 2002) (see 30-30 club)
Fell one home run short of being the 4th member of the 40-40 club (2002)