Traveling to Dallas for Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero

I catch a non-stop American Airlines flight to Dallas today. I mention non-stop because direct flights are hard to come by out of Spokane, Washington. Why the trip to Dallas? It began with an Instagram post by the Texas Rangers. They were promoting a weekend to celebrate and honor newly inducted Hall of Fame outfielder Vladimir Guerrero.

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On Aug. 3-4, we venerate Vladdy.

A post shared by Texas Rangers ⚾️ (@rangers) on

My first thought was this is really odd.  Vladdy only played one season for the Texas Rangers.  The Rangers are promoting an entire weekend complete with bobble head night for him.  Guerrero was just inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Los Angeles (formerly Anaheim) Angel not a Ranger.

I text my friend in Dallas and told her I was coming.  It was a spur of the moment decision.  Vladimir Guerrero weekend in Texas why not? Guerrero was a fantastic player and one I got to see play.  A player I was a fan of and would gladly argue was one of the best of his day.   He had a cannon for an arm and could hit anything remotely close to the strike zone.  He was a player who never wore batting gloves.  There were never any scandals or drama surrounding his playing days.

I don’t think any of us really got to witness or appreciate his all around athleticism on a daily basis since he played his first 8 seasons in Canada as a Montreal Expo. Guerrero played in the days before YouTube, Facebook and before any sort of Tweet was ever possible.  He played in a Canadian city without much of a fan base and fanfare.  His career numbers getting him elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame the second time he was on the ballot.

Career Stats from BaseballReference.com

  • Hits                  2590
  • Home runs    449
  • RBI                   1491
  • Batting Avg.  .318
  • On Base %    .379
  • 9 All Star Games
  • 8 Silver Slugger Awards
  • 2004 AL MVP
  • 16 year career
  • 8 years in the National League
  • 8 years in the American League

My friend Adee and I discussed this year’s Hall of Fame class.  We both questioned the selection of Jim Thome.   Adee asked me if I ever remember anybody going to a ballgame to see Jim Thome play?  The answer was no.  But if Vlad Guerrero was in town you were at the ballpark.  He had this mythical quality about him because most fans didn’t get to see him play live especially in all those seasons in Montreal.  You wanted to be there in the seats to see him throw somebody out from right field or hit a ball in the dirt for a double.

I travel to Texas this weekend to honor Vladdy.  He’s one of those quiet great ones in this sport.  He’s the first Angel to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Thank you Texas Rangers for choosing to pay tribute.  Friday and Saturday night I will be in the stands to honor and celebrate the career of Vlad.

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