Photo Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Vlad Guerrero Sr. Will Go Into Cooperstown Wearing An Angels Cap


I mean… one can hardly see a Hall of Famer’s cap these days anyway, scorched as they are by the fiery heat of the earth’s sun. But yeah, this isn’t going to go over so well in this country — where we’re all so excited for what Vlad Jr. is going to be as a Blue Jay, and where the Montréal baseball revival seems to have real legs.

It perhaps shouldn’t go over well either!

Vlad Sr. played 1004 games in his eight years with the Expos, compared to 846 in six years with the Angels. He hit 234 of his 449 home runs as an Expo, compared to 173 as an Angel. He stole 123 of his 181 stolen bases as an Expo, and just 52 in Anaheim. His OPS+ with the Expos was 148, as compared to 141 with the Angels. The bulk of his Hall of Fame resume was put together in Montréal! He did win his only MVP in Anaheim, but were it not up to him, I think this one would be a no-brainer.

But, of course, he does have a say — at least that’s what Bob Nightengale tells us, though Guerrero’s agent had a different story over the weekend — and these are his wishes, and… well… you maybe can’t even blame him. And you can be sure that he’s not turning his back on his Expos career, that he’ll have much to say in Cooperstown about Felipe Alou and his years as that franchise’s last pre-revival superstar, and that this wasn’t an easy decision for him.

And the thing is, he wasn’t part of the 1994 strike team, he was part of some pretty fucking sad years as that franchise declined. Maybe the connection just isn’t quite the same. Plus, he never played in the playoffs there, but did five times in six seasons for the Angels (though, of course, he missed that franchise’s one World Series title by a year).

Plus, y’know, given that the Expos currently don’t even exist, meh, whatever. It’s fine. Right? Go in as a member of the Las Vegas 51s for all I care! Though, to be honest, I’d have hoped he went the other way on this, as I’m sure many in these parts would have as well. Guess that just means Larry Walker will have to do it! (Though that would actually be even more absurd than Vladdy going in this way!)

  • Barry

    That’s pretty disappointing.

    My bet is that while the Hall has final decision, they would have gone with Vlad’s preference either way. If he’d said “Expos”, they’d have no reason to go against his wishes, for the reasons stated. But if he said “Angels,” they could at least make a case for it by saying that he saw the post-season five times as an Angel (and the WS once), while never playing in the postseason as an Expo. I don’t think it’s a particularly good case, mind you (player accomplishment vs. team accomplishment), but if the player wants one thing, and you want to support his choice, that’s how you’d do it.

  • Barry

    I’ve long felt that putting a team hat on the plaques is an antiquated concept from the days when it was common for a player to spend their career with one team. Over time, and in the free agent era in particular, it’s become common for players to spend meaningful portions of their careers with multiple teams. Putting one team’s cap on them will delight one fanbase, but offend another.

    They should just do away with the cap logos. Let fans of all a player’s teams feel included equally. But baseball doesn’t like to let go of its traditions.

  • Oz Rob

    Well, as Canadians and Expos fans, we sort of assumed that of course he’d wear an Expos cap, but he went to the playoffs with the Angels multiple times. Maybe the best memories as a player was with the Angels. Nothing wrong with that.

  • ErnieWhitt

    The fact that he won the MVP and made the playoffs with the Angels has to be the important deciding factor. Heck – in previous years, even talking about Halliday, many people wondered if his post season experience with the Phils might tip the scale (note- no).