There are conflicting reports this morning from the Dominican Republic regarding the legendary Pedro Guerrero, all of them bad.
As compiled by J.P. Hoornstra of the O.C. Register, one reporter is saying that Guerrero has died. Another tweets that Guerrero is brain dead. ESPN’s Enrique Rojas reports that Guerrero suffered a stroke. Another says Guerrero suffered a heart attack. Guerrero suffered a stroke two years ago but had since recovered.
Guerrero played 15 season in the big leagues, ten full seasons and one partial season with the Dodgers, four full and one partial season with the Cardinals. An astoundingly good hitter in a low-offensive era, Guerrero posted a career line of .300/.370/.480, which is an OPS+ of 137. For reference, that’s Josh Donaldson‘s current career OPS+ and Will Clark’s career OPS+.
In 1985 Guerrero led the league in on-base and slugging percentage. He was a five-time All-Star. He won a silver slugger award in 1982. He was the MVP of the 1981 World Series, driving in seven runs and knocking four extra-base hits including two homers in the six-game series.
All of that is pretty amazing but, despite those gaudy stats, Guerrero was one of the more underrated stars of his era, primarily because he was a defensive liability, even as he played both infield corners, all three outfield positions and even 12 games at second base. As Hoornstra notes, Guerrero abused alcohol and drugs during his playing career, making one wonder what he could’ve done had he taken a healthier approach to things.
Though his situation now sounds dire, here’s hoping for the best for one of baseball’s truly unique talents.