Keri: The legend of Vlad Guerrero in winter

From Jonah Keri at on April 2, 2014:

Nomar fading away in Oakland. Junior hitting a buck-eighty-four in his last hurrah with Seattle. Mays making us cringe as a Met. Sports are never crueler than when they force us to watch our heroes on their last legs.

Vladimir Guerrero doesn’t invite the same reverence as Mays, the same all-time status as Griffey, or even the same Fallonization of “Nomah.” Still, there exists a group of baseball fans who watched Vlad from the beginning, who saw him burst into the majors as our generation’s Roberto Clemente, making plays no one else could make, doing things no one else could do.

So when the Toronto Blue Jays (a team run by a native Montrealer and huge Expos fan) cut Vlad loose because they didn’t think he could cut it even as a part-time major league player, our hearts were broken. Not because we suddenly realized the old Vlad was never coming back — we knew that long ago. But because one of the most exciting baseball players we’d ever seen was meeting the same ending as those other fallen greats before him.

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Originally published: April 2, 2014. Last Updated: April 2, 2014.