17 September 2013

it wasn't supposed to end like this

one of my favorite players of the last 20 years called it quits the other day.  vladimir guerrero, who hadn't played in the majors since 2011, officially retired.  he was 36 when he suited up for the orioles in 2011, and didn't perform too badly, although his power was in decline.  he was the o's dh in 145 games, and he hit .290 with 13 homers and 63 rbi.  still, i was definitely surprised when no team took a chance on him in 2012, and i was then disappointed when the blue jays signed him to a minor league deal but released him rather than promote him to the big club.

so, having played in so many games the previous year, vladdy was a lock to get a card in the 2012 card releases, right?  well, kind of.  here's his 2012 topps card
now that would be a fantastic final tribute card!  plus he's wearing the mike flanagan memorial patch.  unfortunately, it's just a checklist card that denotes the fact that guerrero passed julio franco to become the all-time hits leader among players from the dominican republic.
if only topps hadn't waited until series 2 to put vladdy on the checklist, we might have had a real final tribute card in the set.

thankfully, there is topps heritage.
with vladdy's complete career stats on the back
he finished his career 9 hits behind steve garvey, but 205 home runs in front of the garv.  right now, vladdy is 82nd all-time in hits, 35th in ops, 45th in total bases, 36th in home runs and 52nd in rbi.  that's not a bad career.

once vladdy left the angels, i kind of got off track with my pc.  then, sometime last year, i started picking up his cards again.  here are some 2011 cards - topps
and topps update
man, did i want the rangers to win the world series in 2010.  not only because they were playing the giants, but also because of vladdy. unfortunately, vladdy was just 1 for 14 as the giants won the title.

here's a 2011 bowman
with the gold parallel, too
and a turkey red insert from 2010 topps update
this 2010 topps national chicle card
could go either way as far as vladdy being an angel or a ranger, but there is no doubt about the team affiliation on this 2007 topps a&g relic card
or this 2011 topps 60 relic card
with vladdy officially retired, i am not sure who my favorite non-dodger player is.  there's joe mauer, i suppose, but his stock has fallen a bit with me.  i do know that it is not hunter pence - the guy with perhaps the only swing worse to look at than vladdy's.

here's to you vladimir guerrero.  enjoy retirement and say hello to wilton for us dodger fans.  as usual, we had the wrong brother.


Anonymous said...

In another few years, I'll sure I will see Vladimir Guerrero Oriole cards the same way I see Pedro Martinez Phillies cards -- I'll remember that they did in fact play for those teams, but the cards themselves just look completely wrong.

The same is true of Fernando Valenzuela Phillies cards in '95.

Nick said...

Vlad's 2011 Topps Update card would've made for a perfect final tribute...if it were released in 2012.

I like his "Record Breaker" 2012 Topps issue, but you're right, the lack of career stats on the back hurts it.