By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
ST. MARYS, Ont. — Two weeks removed from falling only 15 votes shy of earning an induction into the storied halls of Cooperstown, Vladimir Guerrero is now set to be honored this June as the hard-hitting product of Nizao, Dominican Republic was named to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s class of 2017 on Thursday.
Signed by the Montreal Expos as an amateur free agent in March of 1993, Guerrero played in parts of 16 seasons at the MLB level while slashing a robust .318/.379/.553 and demonstrating an ability to hit with power to all fields. For his career, he generated a total of 2590 base knocks, 449 home runs and deposited 1.496 RBIs.
In addition to his hall of fame work with the bat, the slugger was also an established threat on the defensive side of the baseball. Having fully utilized one of the most powerful arms in the history of the game, Guerrero amassed a total of 126 outfield assists and saved his pitcher’s countless points on their individual earned-run averages by virtue of his threatening presence in the outfield alone.
Appearing on nine All-Star teams, the 6-foot-3 fan-favourite also captured a total of eight Silver Slugger titles, the Edgar Martinez Award for being the American League’s most outstanding designated hitter in 2010 and, in 2004, took home AL MVP honors after helping power the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to a Western Division title while leading the AL in total bases (366) and runs scored (124) on the year.
Established by Bruce Prentice in the early 1980’s, the Canadian baseball shrine basis its election criteria off of a number of factors including nationality, service time and overall impact on the game within Canada.
Born in the Dominican Republic, the former big league power-plant may not own the necessary passport to qualify for one of those categories, but having played over 1.000 games as a member of the ill-fated Expos between 1996 and 2003, he certainly has the other two covered.
With the Expos abandoning Montreal for greener pastures in 2004, Guerrero remains the franchise leader in batting average (.323), slugging percentage (.588), OPS (.978) and home runs with 234. He also ranks fifth in runs scored (641) behind Gary Carter (707), Tim Wallach (737), Andre Dawson (828) and Tim Raines (947), respectively. For what it’s worth, all four of the aforementioned Expos are also members of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
The fabled bad ball masher will be joined by fellow 2017 inductees Roy Halladay, former President of Baseball Canada Ray Carter, long-time umpire Doug Hudlin and the 2015 gold medal winning Pan Am squad for a ceremony held on the Hall of Fame’s grounds in St. Marys this June.
“Each member of this year’s class has had a tremendously positive impact on baseball in Canada,” wrote Scott Crawford, the Canadian ball hall’s director of operations in a press release on Thursday.
“I’m excited that we will not only be celebrating the careers of two of the greatest professional players ever to suit up for the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos, but also two highly respected grassroots leaders and a gold-medal-winning national team that made history on home soil.”
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