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’ I’d say, ‘Just throw it down the middle and hope he hits it at someone.'”That didn’t work either. Vladimir, the rival Glanville saw Guerrero when both were fresh major league faces, Glanville with the Cubs and Guerrero with the Expos. Over a four-season span from 1998 to 2001, Guerrero had a .401/.487/832 slash line with 22 home runs and 55 RBIs in 55 games against Glanville's Phillies. It was like there were chainsaws coming at you.”Glanville remembers two at-bats in particular.Skipper Jim Riggleman was conducting a meeting, and when Guerrero’s name came up, Glanville’s teammate and pitcher Amaury Telemaco spoke up.“Bust him inside? This was Guerrero living up to his “Vlad the Impaler” nickname.“I watched this guy destroy us,” Glanville said. One was a Guerrero missile that sailed past shortstop Desi Relaford's face on a line.Glanville estimated its location as “the other batter’s box.” Guerrero stepped in front of the plate and hit an opposite-field walk-off home run.“I had a good strategy,” Cormier told his teammates, lamenting his fate.
Vlad said, ‘I’ll hit a homer today.’ And I thought, ‘Yeah, right.’ In his first at-bat, he hit a bomb to dead center.”Said Santangelo: “I can remember Brown would ask me, ‘How do I get this guy out? Glanville learned that firsthand once he was traded to the Phillies and got stuck in the same division as Guerrero. And he would hit balls with crazy English and crazy spin.
“When the pitch was thrown to him, I turned my head and ducked.”That wasn’t the only way Guerrero could cause discomfort.“He had so much pine tar on the bat, because he swung barehanded that his hands were all calloused up,” said former Expos teammate Brian Schneider, now a catching coach with the Marlins. In Anaheim, she cooked rice, chicken and beans as the pregame meal .
Guerrero might have just been a big kid out there, but he wasn’t lacking for confidence.“I saw him rubbing his hands and [smiling, knowing] that we were facing [ace pitcher] Kevin Brown,” former Expos and now Mariners coach Manny Acta said, remembering a game from May 2002.
“And it was off the wall before I had time to square up to field it in center field," Glanville said.
The other was a 2-0 pitch thrown by teammate Rheal Cormier on July 18, 2001.
“That was a 'wow' moment."On the other side, the Braves announcers referred to the homer, which Guerrero snuck just fair down the right-field line, as “lucky.” But that’s how Guerrero hit. And had the broadcasters known Guerrero’s routine before his at-bats early in his career, they would have probably been even more befuddled.“Before an at-bat, he would just start going through the bat rack, and he would pick them up, feel them, look at the name on the bat, raise his eyebrows and nod,” Santangelo said. In the 2001 All-Star Game, third-base coach Tommy Lasorda was fortunate he wasn’t hurt when Guerrero lost the bat on his swing.