Friday March 5, 2012
Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer)- I love watching Vladimir Guerrero play baseball live in person. I first saw him play in 1996 at the Big ‘O’ in Montreal. I think he swung at 9 balls in a row. I am lucky enough to have seen him play about 20 games live since then. Perhaps no other Major League Player has ever liked to swing the bat as much as Vlad (with a heavy apology here to Randall Simon, who swung his bat at one of the Sausages during a Miller Park race.) Believe me, the television set does not do this man enough justice.
In 2005, I saw my first game at Angel Stadium. It was Vladdy’s first year in with the Angels. They were playing the Texas Rangers. I think Kenny Rogers was pitching back with his original club. He threw 3 intentional balls way outside to Guerrero in the bottom of the 1st. On a 3-0 count, he bounced one to the plate. Wouldn’t you know Vladdy was swinging on a 3-0 count? He smashed a ball off of the fence in left with a line drive about six feet off the ground! I swear that Vlad would have been one of the best cricket players in the world had he played. I am sure he has hundreds of hits similar to this in his career.
Vladimir was also an incredible fielder in his early years with the Expos. He could throw a guy out from the wall in right field all the way to home plate. It was unbelievable to witness such an amazing arm like this. He was an all-round player with 5-tools. He will be regarded more for his offense as some baseball historians say he is the best bad ball hitter since Roberto Clemente. This is heavy praise for the future Hall of Famer. While you never really think of Vladdy as lightning fast, he did steal 40 bases in 2002 for the Expos during his 2nd straight 30-30 campaign. He only missed the 40-40 club by one home run. (more…)