By In Stuff

Ballot 27: Carlos Guillen


Carlos Guillen

Played 14 years for two different teams

Three-time All-Star fhit .285 with a 1,331 hits. 27.7 WAR, 9.0 WAA

Pro argument: Played at more or less Hall of Fame level from 2004-2007 — four seasons.

Con argument:  He was not good enough for long enough.

Deserves to be in Hall?: No

Will get elected this year?: No

Will ever get elected?: No

* * *

Carlos Guillen could flat hit. In his prime, from age 28 to 31, he hit .313/.377/.506 and posted a 131 OPS+ — that’s basically Derek Jeter stuff. Jeter, over the same four years,. hit .317/.387/.464 with a 123 OPS+.

One of the most frightening and amazing things about Carlos Guillen’s career was that in 2001 he played shortstop more or less every day for the greatest regular season team in baseball history (a Seattle team that won 116 games), even though he had PULMONARY TUBERCULOSIS. I mean, this is not a pulled hamstring. This is the second-most deadly infectious disease on earth behind AIDS. In the end, the man was coughing up blood.

The Mariners were obviously raked over the coals for missing TB — for a fuller account read Jeff Sullivan’s excellent recollection — but you have to say (1) tuiberculosis is tough to diagnose (and he had been tested during spring training) and (2) Carlos Guillen would do ANYTHING to play ball. He refused to say anything. This is something about ballplayers, especially young and hungry ones like Guillen. They all act like the Black Knight. Coughing up blood? Searing pain in the shoulder? Arm cut off by King Arthur? It’s just a flesh wound.

Guillen has spent his post-baseball life helping young players in Venezuela — he opened up an Academy a few years ago with the idea of teaching those kids about life. “Basseball players here become adults when they turn 16,” he told Baseball America. “And most of them are left unprepared for the responsibility that entails. We instill a strong education and good habits in them by the time they are 14 or 15.”

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19 Responses to Ballot 27: Carlos Guillen

  1. GWO says:

    Despite being a Mariners fan, I had completely forgotten about Guillen’s TB. I now want to read Jeff Sullivan’s non-existent “Franchise stories every Mariners fan should know” book.

  2. invitro says:

    He was big-time in the playoffs, which is mostly 2006 with the Tigers: .344/.420/.577. Oddly, Wikipedia doesn’t mention the 2006 playoffs at all in its Guillen article. It does have: “In 2006, Guillén became the first player in modern Major League history to raise his average for six consecutive seasons, batting .320. In the field, however, he tied for the major league lead in errors at shortstop, with 28.”

    bb-ref gives Guillen a 1.7 dWAR for 2001. This number sticks out like a sore thumb among his other dWAR’s, which range from -1.0 to 0.5. I’m guessing there’s some win-sharing going on here.

  3. John Autin says:

    One of my favorite Tigers — and one of the best trades they ever made, thanks to his great leap forward in 2004.

    Through age 27 (with Seattle), Guillen batted .264 with a 93 OPS+. In his first 5 years with Detroit, he hit .308 with a 128 OPS+.

    There are 155 guys in modern MLB history who:
    (a) hit .300 or better over age 28-32 with at least 2,500 PAs, and
    (b) had 1,000 PAs before that.
    In that group, Guillen’s 44-point gain in BA is 10th-highest, and his 35-point gain in OPS+ is 6th-highest.

  4. Bob says:

    Is there an article for the e-mail you sent on Bruce and turning 50?…really want to read but link does not work

  5. Chris Smith says:

    That’s the shortest baseball post ever from Joe…

    • invitro says:

      It was short… I’m glad it was, because maybe it freed up some time for Joe to write that very interesting Heyward/Fowler article. I don’t know how Joe has had the energy to write such terrific articles on the mostly not-all-that-interesting players so far. I wish one of the publishers would hire Joe to write the player descriptions for one of the yearly season preview books. It’d be great.

  6. Edwin says:

    My bet is that next in the ballot series will be Edgar Renteria.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Interesting thing about Renteria: He was traded to the Tigers for Jair Jurrjens. Renteria declined quickly while Jurrjens seemed headed for stardom, and was very good for about four years. I would tease my Tiger fan friends that this was Alexander for Smoltz 2.0. This wasn’t hype either. Before Jurrjens got hurt, my Tiger friends were VERY upset about this trade.

  7. invitro says:

    I’m liking the baseball card pics. Baseball card design is a lost art and you can tell just by how many of the attractive cards (like the beautiful Fowler & Heyward cards) are from sets that reuse the designs of 50 years ago. But this Guillen card is really nice. I still buy an occasional pack of cards, but they’re usually the Topps Archives ones… they’re wonderful, especially if Topps doesn’t make the (C), (R), and TM too big. (I wish though that Joe would include a pic of the back of the card too, so we can see the player’s stats without having to go to bb-ref :).)

  8. MA Hoffman says:

    TB is second most infectious deadly disease on earth behind AIDS??? Really? Wow – I thought we had AIDS under control!

  9. Dave says:

    I just love all of this Joe. Keep it up!

  10. Donald A. Coffin says:

    Once again…and Javier Vasquez couldn’t even make it onto the ballot?

    (I’ll stop this as soon as someone complains…)

  11. Jim Cowan says:

    For any Tigers fan, Guillen’s career highlight was the home run that he hit off Jered Weaver in July 2011. Punch in Guillen and Weaver on YouTube and you’ll see it. Weaver had been chirping of course, and had buzzed Magglio Ordonez, and then Guillen came up and put one in the right field seats – and then styled the most outrageous, Vaudeville home run trot ever on Weaver, on his way to first base. The only way that that he could have improved on it would have been to do it in a skirt and high heels.

    Long-time Tigers fans have 3 classic TV moments to cherish: (a) Fidrych’s curtain call against the Yankees in 1976 (b) Gibby/Gossage in 1984 (c) Guillen/Weaver in 2011

  12. Herbert Smith says:

    I can see how those moments would be huge for Tiger fans. However for some of us who didn’t grow up with the big, gothic Detroit “D,” fave highlights would have to include a couple of those Cecil Fielder blasts onto the roof of the old Tiger Stadium. Those grainy-but-mesmerizing clips just never get old.

    • Rob Smith says:

      I go back a little farther. Maybe the ’68 World Series. Mickey Lolich winning 3 games and beating Bob Gibson in game 7 (Gibson’s famous 1.12 ERA year where the Cards winning game 7 seemed like a lock). And Lolich hit his only lifetime HR AND received a bases loaded walk in a game 2 win.

      But the moment for the Tigers HAD to be the 3-run Triple by Jim Northrup off of Gibson for the game winner. Gold glove winner Curt Flood famously misjudging the long fly ball leading to the deciding runs. Northrup had 8 RBIs in the series on only 7 hits.

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