Saturday, February 25, 2012

DAHOF Top 100 -- #37 Vladimir Guerrero

Spring Training has started and Vladimir Guerrero still does not have a team to play for in 2012. If he could still play in the outfield, I would absolutely love to see the Phils grab him... unfortunately he has not played regularly in the outfield since 2008. I gotta believe some AL team out there can use him... after 16 years in the big leagues, the man is less than 500 hits away from 3000.

From Tom Verducci in the May 2000 Sports Illustrated:

Think back to a time when baseball heroes came unadorned by batting gloves, wristbands, jewelry, tattoos, endorsements and ego. Go back to the days without televised games, when a box score and a picture in the morning paper left wide berth for imaginations to fill in the rest of the majesty of a player. Go back to when hitters were defined by how often they made solid contact with the baseball, not by how far they mashed it every once in a while between strings of strikeouts.

Go all the way back to last Friday. Go back to Vladimir Guerrero, the 24-year-old Montreal Expos rightfielder who seems as likely to have been discovered in amber as on the rural sandlots of the Dominican Republic. He plays baseball with a purity of purpose and talent rarely seen in a game that increasingly rivals the Academy Awards for overproduction.

Last Friday was a typical day in his small and simple world. His mother, Altagrasia, with whom he lives during the season in a downtown Montreal apartment (along with his brother and teammate, Wilton), cooked lunch for her sons and sent them off to play ball. At Olympic Stadium, Vladimir slipped into his Expos uniform and pulled on his stereo headphones, cranking merengue music to decibels that cause his teammates to worry about his auditory health. Then for nearly two hours he played a PlayStation baseball game—he always chooses to be the Expos, matched against various other teams—on a monitor in the middle of the clubhouse that has become his fiercely private preserve. Later, in the real game, he scorched three hits to knock in every Montreal run in a 5-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, with one hit going to left, one to center and one to right. Two of them were home runs. Finally, he drove back home with Altagrasia and Wilton.

The Guerreros do this for every Expos home game. Mom's cooking, the merengue, the video game, the hits and the family piling into the car for the ride home. O.K., not exactly the same every time. Sometimes Vladimir gets only two hits.

Read the rest of the article HERE


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