Vladimir Guerrero spent the first eight years of his career in the National League where he hit an absurd .318/.379/.553 with a 148 OPS+. Luckily, this meant he didn’t have many opportunities to increase Mike Mussina’s ERA and WHIP. In those eight years, the peak of Guerrero’s career, he only faced Mussina twice, in 1998 and again in 1999. Mussina held him hitless in six at-bats.

Guerrero joined the Angels as a free agent in the winter of 2003 and spent the last half of his career pulverizing American League pitching. The A.L. version of Guerrero couldn’t run and field the way he had in Montreal but he was still a menace with the bat. His six-year batting line in Anaheim is nearly identical to his one in Montreal (.319/.381/.546 with a 141 OPS+). While in the A.L. Mussina also managed to keep Guerrero’s bat at bay. Here’s a yearly accounting of their encounters

Results Table
Year PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS GDP
1998 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0
1999 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 1
2004 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 1
2005 10 10 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 .300 .300 .400 .700 2
2006 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .500 .667 .500 1.167 0
2007 5 5 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 .200 .200 .400 .600 0
2008 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0
Post 2005 5 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .400 .400 .400 .800 0
RegSeason 30 29 5 2 0 0 2 1 5 .172 .200 .241 .441 4
with Post 35 34 7 2 0 0 2 1 5 .206 .229 .265 .493 4
I think my favourite stat is that Mussina never gave up a long ball to Vlad. For his career, Guerrero hit 449 home runs, the 40th most in MLB history. He homered at a rate of once per 18.2 at-bats. Mussina is partially responsible for that number not being lower.
In the 2005 postseason, the Yankees and Angels played a five-game division series which the Angels won three games to two. Mussina started game one (against Bartolo Colon!) and pitched five and two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball. The Yankees won 4-2. Mussina got the ball again in the decisive game five. In a game that Patrick has memory-holed, Mussina melted down and allowed five runs in two and two-thirds as the Angels prevailed 5-3. It was arguably the worst postseason start of Mussina’s career. Guerrero’s Angels lost in the ALCS to the eventual World Series Champions, the Chicago White Sox.
MussinaHOF congratulates Vladimir Guerrero on his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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