By Robert Dominguez
He was on a new team playing with an old body after an off year, and Vladimir Guerrero needed to have a monster of a season to prove plenty of people wrong.
On this day in béisbol, May 25, 2010 the future Hall of Famer had a monster of a game that showed he was still one of the most dangerous hitters in the American League.
Playing on a one-year-contact with the Texas Rangers after five seasons and an MVP with the Los Angeles Angels, Guerrero was coming off an injury-plagued 2009 in which he only played in 100 games and had pundits and fans alike wondering if the big Dominican slugger with the wild swing was washed up at 35.
The Texas heat apparently agreed with him. Guerrero had already gotten off to a torrid start in 2010 when he singlehandedly beat the Royals in an exciting seesaw battle in Kansas City on May 25.
Batting in the cleanup spot as the DH, Guerrero started the scoring in the top of the first with a two-out, two-run homer. In the fifth, with Texas leading 4-2, he added to the lead with another deep drive to left for two more runs.
After the Royals rallied to tie the game at 6-6, Guerrero came up again with men on base and laced a sharp double to left for his fifth RBI of a game the Angels won 8-7.
He went 3 for 5 on the day, with his double and 11th and 12th home runs giving him 42 RBIs in just 45 games and boosting his average to .347.
But it was more than just a big game early in the season. Guerrero seemingly never cooled off and rode his hot streak all the way into October, helping led the Rangers to their first postseason in 11 years — and their first AL pennant.
Guerrero also earned Comeback Player of the Year honors with 29 HR, 115 RBI and a .300 average.
His late-career resurgence was short-lived, though. Guerrero signed with the Orioles for the 2011 season at age 36, but injuries limited his performance yet again.
While it would be his last year in the majors, it was his 2010 comeback campaign that undoubtedly helped get him into Cooperstown in 2018 as the third player from the Dominican Republic after pitchers Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez.
Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls” and writer of the upcoming “El Salón: The Trials and Triumphs of Baseball’s Latino Hall of Famers.”
Photo source: sgkimpo — Under Creative Commons License