The new trend of logo free Hall of Fame caps sets a bad precedent

Posted by Scott Wuerz on January 25, 2014 

For years the word was that the Hall of Fame, not the inductee, had the final say when it came to which logo a player or manager who was associated with more than one team wore on his Cooperstown plaque.

But the fact that the Hall of fame proprietors were apparently swayed by former St. Louis skipper (and don't forget the Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox, for crying out loud!!!) Tony La Russa's and former Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres hurler Greg Maddux's arguments to be enshrined without a logo on their caps could set a dangerous precedent.

It's not about fans with hurt feelings. It's about the possibility that it could cause the decision of how players are remembered to become political and competitive.

In the free agent era, precious few players spend their entire career within one organization. And it's more common for players to bounce around to three or four teams than it is for them to play for two. Think of a player like Carlos Beltran who was an up and coming star with the Kansas City Royals, a playoff hero with the Houston Astros, a superstar with the Mets and then a productive veteran with the San Francisco Giants, the Cardinals and the New York Yankees.

It's not as easy, apparently, as tallying up the statistics and seeing where the player or manager won the most games or hit the most home runs. If it was, La Russa would be sporting the STL and Maddux Atlanta's A.

When Albert Pujols signed a 10-year player contract with a 10-year personal services deal to kick in after his retirement, I worried that it was a play by the Angels to put a player in the Hall of Fame in an Anaheim uniform despite the fact that Pujols will certainly put up the bulk of his statistics and enjoy his best seasons as a Cardinal. He made his name in St. Louis. But how can a guy who is an employee of another team who is forbidden by his contract with Anaheim to promote or represent another team go in as something other than an Angel?

I don't think it's far fetched for teams to get into bidding wars with common players to wear their logo on their Hall of Fame plaque for a price. Suppose Roger Clemens ever clears his name and gets into the Hall. If it's up to him whose cap he wears, what's to stop Clemens from pitting the Yankees Astros, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays against each other?

Either the Hall of Fame needs to go back to a strict policy of objectively choosing who players will represent without their input. Or else they should just put EVERYONE in the Hall without a logo on their cap.

 

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