By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network
There is suspense, anticipation, trepidation, anxiety and pressure facing Vladimir Guerrero as the Jan. 24 announcement of the latest inductees for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. is around the corner.
And this will be tremendous news for fans of the Expos: Guerrero has indicated that he now wants to enter the Hall of Fame with an Expos' logo on his plague, although there have been conflicting reports because he has said in the past he would prefer the Angels' logo.
The Angels have been lobbying and hoping that Guerrero will go in with a halo on his plague because the franchise has yet to see a player with their logo inducted in their history going back to their inauguration in 1962. Guerrero played a little more than seven seasons in Montreal and six seasons in Anaheim.
Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson told the Canadian Baseball Network earlier this year that the logo decision would be up to Guerrero. But Idelson also said he would talk with Guerrero to see if the choice "made sense.'' At the time, we talked with Idelson, Guerrero wanted to go in as an Angel but he has obviously changed his mind.
"Vlad would be the last Expo to go in the hall,'' his agent Jesse Guerrero said in an interview Sunday night. "If it's up to Vlad, he would like to go in an Expo but the hall apparently is going to make the decision or determination.
"Vlad has said the Expos' team, the franchise, does not exist but he understands the numbers he did in Montreal. And the Expos gave him the first opportunity to be in the major leagues.''
According to ballot tracker Ryan Thibodaux, Guerrero has obtained close to 95% of the votes needed to enter the Hall of Fame. Thibodaux's tracking system accounted for 50% of the votes made public by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Guerrero almost made it into Cooperstown last year when he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont.
"Vlad feels pressure. He's cool about it,'' Jesse Guerrero said. "Last year when he got the call that he didn't get in, he took it in stride. He wasn't hurt. He wasn't sad.''
Jesse Guerrero was in Toronto this weekend for the Blue Jays winter caravan with Vladimir's son Vlad Jr. and the two are flying to the Dominican Republic Monday. Then Vladimir and Jesse will fly to New York Tuesday, anticipating that Idelson will call Vladimir to say he has been elected into Cooperstown.
Vladimir and Jesse will stay at Vladimir's house on Long Island, N.Y, a place he has called home for part of each year for the last few years. Guerrero played independent ball at one time for the Long Island Ducks.
Also included in this scenario is Angels broadcaster Jose Mota, who will be flying to New York to be an interpreter for Vladimir during an anticipated conference call for each inductee. And helping out as a media relations coordinator will be another Domincian friend of Vladimir's, Virgilio Rojo.
"Jose is a good family friend that Vlad contacted to assist him if need be,'' Jesse said.
About 6 p.m. or so this Wednesday, as many as seven inductees could be announced. Jack Morris and Alan Trammell have already been selected by the Modern Era Committee and Guerrero, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman and Edgar Martinez will likely be going in through the regular route.