Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, from left, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones and Jim Thome, pose during a news conference in New York in January when their selections were announced.Frank Franklin II/The Associated Press

1. Discovered by Fred Ferreira

Scouting legend Fred Ferreira discovered Vladimir Guerrero in 1993. Ferreira was evaluating 30 other Dominican players that day and Guerrero arrived last-minute wearing shoes that were not only mismatched but also different sizes.

After seeing him throw balls from the outfield and run 60 yards in 6.6 seconds, Ferreira asked Guerrero to stay to play a game against the best 18 players evaluated that day. Unfortunately, Guerrero pulled a muscle in his thigh after hitting a ball to the shortstop – but Ferreira already liked what he saw. On his way to the airport, Ferreira stopped by the Guerrero household and offered him a contract.

Ferreira has given different numbers over the years, but it seems Guerrero signed a deal that day worth between US$1,500 and US$2,500. He would go on to make more than US$125-million over his career.

2. First game, first hit

Montreal Expos fans waited three years before they could get a glimpse on the field of their notable recruit. On Sept. 19, 1996, against the Atlanta Braves, Guerrero played the first of his 2,147 MLB games.

In his second turn at the plate facing starting pitcher Steve Avery, Guerrero hit a ground ball that broke through the infield between shortstop and second base.

Like many times over his career, Guerrero swung and got a hit on the first pitch he saw.

3. Home run No. 1 of 449

On Sept. 21, 1996, at the start of the ninth inning, Guerrero hit the first of his 449 career home runs, against Braves closer Mark Wohlers. Guerrero swung on a poor pitch – something his fans got used to seeing throughout his career – and transformed it into a solid hit.

Guerrero added another 233 home runs during his eight seasons in Montreal. He had another 173 with the Anaheim Angels, 29 with the Texas Rangers, and 13 as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.

4. No. 1 of 9 All-Star Games

Guerrero participated in nine MLB All-Star Games and his first was on July 13, 1999, at Fenway Park in Boston.

Used as a backup – Canadian Larry Walker was the starting right-fielder for the National League team – Guerrero struck out in his only plate appearance.

Over his career, Guerrero was an all-star starter seven times, managing five hits in 20 plate appearances, including one home run.

5. Hitting for the cycle

In 2003, the Expos were on borrowed time. Owned at that point by the MLB, it was clear the team wasn’t going to make an offer to Guerrero, who was scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season.

On Sept. 14, 2003, with the Expos 17 games back of the first-place Braves, 21,000 fans came out to see Guerrero hit for the cycle against the New York Mets.

After getting a double in the second inning, a single in the third and a triple in the fifth, Guerrero swung on the first pitch from reliever Dan Wheeler for a two-run home run, leading the Expos to a 7-3 victory.

It was the sixth and last cycle of the Expos franchise.

6. Off to Anaheim

Not yet 29 years old, Guerrero became the most sought-after free agent in the league. Courted by the Orioles and the Mets, Guerrero finally signed with a US$70-million, five-year deal with the Angels.

His arrival changed the fortunes of the franchise, with the team making the playoffs five times in six seasons.

7. The king of the home-run derby

In 2007, Guerrero was invited to the MLB All-Star Game for the eighth time in his career, hosted at AT&T Park in San Francisco. He also took part in the home run derby and, along with Angels coach Dino Ebel, Guerrero had an electric night.

Taking his time and choosing the right pitches thrown by Ebel, Guerrero beat out Alex Rios of the Toronto Blue Jays to win the event.

8. So close to the World Series and yet so far

With the Angels, the closest Guerrero came to the World Series was a six-game loss to the eventual champion New York Yankees in the 2009 American League Championship Series.

Once again a free agent after that loss, Guerrero signed with the Rangers. After a 2009 season disrupted by injuries, Guerrero inked a US$5.5-million deal with Texas and became a steal for the team. He played 152 games and managed 178 hits, 29 home runs and 115 RBIs.

At 35 years old, his .300/.345/.496 slash line exceeded expectations. Guerrero helped the team reach the 2010 World Series, where the Rangers were swept in four games by the San Francisco Giants.

9. His last run around the bases

Guerrero’s 2010 statistics help him win another contract: After striking out seven years prior, the Orioles signed the power hitter for the 2011 season.

At 36, he put up respectable numbers, with a .290/.317/.416 slash line along with 13 home runs and 30 doubles. His final season also helped his chances getting into Cooperstown.

His career statistics include 2,590 hits, 449 home runs, 447 doubles and 1,496 RBIs.

10. Arriving in Cooperstown

In his second year of eligibility, Guerrero was elected to the Hall of Fame after earning 92.9 per cent of the ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America members.

Expos fans will watch Sunday with a heavy heart as he will be wearing an Angels cap and become that franchise’s first player inducted into the Hall.

“I will never forget my years in Montreal – they were very special,” Guerrero, the father of top Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., said in January. “But it was in Anaheim that I learned to win.

“I thought about it for a while, because the Canadian fans mean a lot to me. But to make my entry into the Hall of Fame as a member of the Angels is enormous in my eyes. It’s them who I represent now.”

Interact with The Globe