Vladimir Guerrero signs one-day contract, retires as Angel

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Before Mike Trout made the No. 27 jersey a must-have while attending Angels games, it was the No. 27 of Vladimir Guerrero that was infamous at Angel Stadium.

Guerrero was back inside Angel Stadium and in uniform for Opening Day Monday night. Accompanied on the field by his parents and Angels owner Arte Moreno, Guerrero signed a one-day contract just prior to first pitch between the Angels and the Mariners and officially retired as an Angel.

"I’m thankful for all the time that I have here," Guerrero said through a translator. "I’m lucky that I was able to be here for six years and the fans always treated me really well."   

One of the most decorated Angels of all-time, Guerrero was named the 2004 American League MVP, becoming just the second Angel to win the honor. In 846 games, he hit 173 home runs and drove in 616 runs during his six-year run with the Angels. The Halos won four American League West titles with Guerrero on the roster. He began his career with the Montreal Expos. After his time with the Angels, he split the final two seasons of his career in Texas and Baltimore.

After signing his contract, Guerrero threw out the ceremonial first pitch to another Angels great, Don Baylor — the only other Angel to win MVP honors. Baylor is in the first game of his return to the organization as hitting coach.

It was an unceremonious ending, however, for Baylor. The pitch, low and outside by Guerrero, was smothered by Baylor but the Angels hitting coach was unable to rise to his feet afterwards. It appeared his right leg gave out and, according to the Angels, suffered a right leg injury.

Baylor had to be helped up by Guerrero and was escorted off of the field by members of the Angels training staff.