Guerrero’s plaque makes Angels history

Written by: Craig Muder

When Vladimir Guerrero announced that his Hall of Fame plaque would feature an Angels logo, Gene Autry was surely smiling.

Guerrero, elected to the Hall of Fame on Jan. 24, 2018, following a stellar 16-year big league career with the Expos, Angels, Rangers and Orioles, will be the first Hall of Famer with an Angels logo on his bronze plaque. The Angels, who began play as an American League expansion team in 1961, were one of five of the current 30 big league teams that did not have a Hall of Famer with a logo on the plaque.

The remaining teams on that list are: the Colorado Rockies (who debuted in MLB in 1993), Miami Marlins (1993 debut), Tampa Bay Rays (1998 debut) and Washington Nationals (2005 debut).

"Those are seven years in Montreal I'll never forget," Guerrero said through interpreter Jose Mota on Jan. 25 when he announced his decision. "Very special years for me. Then going to the Angels, getting a taste of winning and the way Montreal prepared me for that. I toiled with this for a long time, because the Canadian people mean a whole lot."

Autry, the legendary singing cowboy who made “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” a hit song in 1949, owned the Angels from their inception in 1961 until 1997.

"I know what it represented," Guerrero said. "What it represents now and all the winning that happened while I was with the Angels."

Vladimir Guerrero was elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA on Jan. 24, 2018. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)

Guerrero played six full seasons and parts of two others with the Expos from 1996-2003, posting a .323 batting average and a .588 slugging percentage.

In his six seasons in Southern California, Guerrero his .319 and slugged .564, leading the Angels to the postseason five times – including American League Championship Series appearances in both 2005 and 2009. In 29 postseason games with the Angels, Guerrero hit .286 with 13 runs scored and 14 RBI.

Guerrero’s plaque was revealed for the first time at the July 29, 2018, Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
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