Introducing… Pedro Guerrero

One of the top hitters during the 1980s, Pedro could hit .300 in his sleep.  Unlike other .300 hitters during the 1980s–think guys like Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs–Pedro also hit for power.  Guerrero hit 30 homeruns three times during his career and had five years with a slugging average that eclipsed .500.  His bat kept him in the Majors since his defense wasn’t of the Gold Glove variety, but Pedro couldn’t quite accept his decline as a player and held on in the Independent Leagues with the Sioux Falls Canaries after the pro teams were done with him.

Originally signed by the Indians, Pedro was traded to the Dodgers for pitcher Bruce Ellingsen while still in the bushes.  Minor league seasoning time was something Pedro didn’t miss out on.  He spent enough time at the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate, Albuquerque, that he was practically the mayor of the city.  The Dodgers called him up from New Mexico for brief trials in 1978 and 1979.  When he hit .322 in an injury plagued 1980, the Dodgers knew they needed to find a place for him in the everyday lineup. 

Guerrero was named the regular right fielder in the strike shortened 1981 season.  That year he was named to his first All-Star team and Pedro would make the NL All-Star squad every odd-numbered year throughout the 1980s.  The man from San Pedro de Macoris led NL right fielders in base hits and carried the Dodgers to the ’81 World Series.  His bat was cold in the Division Series and the NLCS but when he squared off with the Yankees in the Fall Classic, his lumber heated up and he hit Bronx Bomber pitchers at a .333 clip with a pair of dingers.

Pedro’s breakout year came in 1982 when he won the Silver Slugger Award for his position.  He paced NL right fielders in homeruns with his first 30-dinger season and he was the lone right fielder in the Major Leagues to hit .300.  Skipper Tommy Lasorda experimented with Pedro at third base in 1983 and he committed 30 errors, but his bat didn’t fail.  He and Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt were the only Major League third basemen with 30 homer/100 RBI seasons. 

His defensive woes impeded his offensive output in 1984 so the Dodgers  gave Pedro more playing time in the pasture and his bat came back in ’85.  That year Pedro clubbed a career high 33 homers and led the National League in slugging average and on-base percentage.  For his strong season, he finished third in MVP voting.  The Dodgers were hoping for a solid follow-up season in 1986 but an injury limited Guerrero to just 31 games.  He bounced back in 1987 by hitting a career high .338 for the Dodgers.

In the middle of the 1988 season, Pedro, whose power was waning, was dealt to the Cardinals for southpaw John Tudor.  The trade worked well for the Redbirds since Tudor was on his last leg while Pedro still had plenty left in the tank.  In his first full season with the Redbirds, 1989, Pedro was named to the NL All-Star team and paced the senior circuit with 42 doubles.  His 117 RBI were tops among Major League first basemen, as Pedro was finally able to settle in at a position in St. Louis under Hall of Fame skipper Whitey Herzog.

Pedro had another fine season with the Cardinals in 1990 but his loss of power became a cause for concern.  He only sent 13 balls into the seats in 1990 and just eight in 1991.  After an injury-plagued 1992 season, St. Louis let Guerrero walk and when he found no suitors, he packed his bags and joined the independent circuit.  He spent two years in South Dakota before the Angels signed him to play one final season with their Double-A affiliate in Midland, Texas.

THE NUMBERS

G 1536/R 730/H 1618/2B 267/3B 29/HR 215/RBI 898/SB 97/BB 609/SO 862/BA .300/SA .480/OBP .370

www.futilityinfielder.com

Advertisements
1 comment
  1. brettkiser said:

    Pedro really was one of the best all-round hitters of the 1980s. Although abysmal on the field, HOF voters have always viewed offense as carrying more weight than defense. Pedro hit for power, a high batting average and also posted a rather enviable on-base percentage. He hasn’t received the support he deserves from HOF voters and some of that might have to do with off-the-field issues he had. His HOF chances are weak.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: