Even though he hasn't played in an MLB game since 2011, it wasn't until Saturday that we learned Vladimir Guerrero had made his retirement official. The 38-year-old retires with 449 home runs, a 140 OPS+, nine All-Star Game appearances and one MVP award.
At his peak, Guerrero was a dominant five-tool player. Those five tools: hit for power, hit for average, run, defend and throw. The term five-tool player gets thrown around way too often these days, but Vlad definitely fit the bill. He did it all.
In honor of his retirement, let's look back at those five tools. Here is Guerrero's first career homer, which came off Mark Wohlers in September 1996:
Look at baby-faced Vlad driving a 90-something mile-an-hour down-and-away heater out to the opposite field. That takes some serious strength; it was a pitcher's pitch.
Now here's Guerrero's ability to hit for average, evidenced by a 4-for-4 day against the Mets in September 2003. Oh, by the way, he hit for the cycle that day:
Now it's time for the speed. Guerrero stole 37 bases in 2001 and 40 bases in 2002, plus he has five other double-digit steal seasons to his credit. We're going to look at a triple though, this one from August 2008:
Despite his size -- Baseball-Reference lists Guerrero at 6-foot-3 and 235 lbs. -- Vlad could run down a ball in the outfield as well as anyone, even after all those years on the turf in Montreal ruined his knees. Here's Guerrero making a running grab at the wall in May 2010:
Last, but certaintly not least, it's time for the throwing arm. My goodness, that arm. Guerrero had a rocket launcher attached to his right shower and he used to cut down base-runners seemingly at will. Here's a throw from July 2001:
Congrats on the great career, Vlad. You're a Hall of Famer in my book and you will be missed.