Our last entry of the series. Ah, memories. It seems like it was only last Tuesday when we began this thing . . .
The Best: Call me crazy, but I loved the old trident M on the caps. It looked better with the star behind it than the original look , but like so many other expansion teams, be it the Angels, the Brewers or the Expos, a unique logo — as opposed to a near-generic letter — is the absolute best way to make up for not having a century of history behind you. Or rather, it is your history, Seattle, and it’s not something that you should hide from simply because it wasn’t around before World War II.
Ultimately, though, that’s just a cap. The jerseys of that era were kind of blah. And really, since then, the jerseys have been kind of blah. I guess if they could somehow incorporate the star-trident-M with something like this they’d be optimizing things, but I still believe that the Mariners’ best uniforms are in their future, not their past.
The Worst: The era of the big yellow S on the caps may have been one of the laziest designs in baseball history. “Well, we’re in Seattle. Let’s put an ‘S’ on there, OK boys? No, no need to make it look good or fancy or anything. Just a yellow S. We have more important things to do today.”
Assessment: The Mariners have at times been the worst team in baseball, and for one year at least, they were the best team in baseball. Never, however, have their uniforms reached heights or depths of any significance whatsoever. Kind of sad really.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.
There is little if any controversy to be had about the caps this year’s inductees will wear on their Hall of Fame plaques, but in case there was any doubt at all, it was put to rest this afternoon at the Hall of Fame press conference: Tim Raines will wear a Montreal Expos cap and Ivan Rodriguez will wear a Rangers cap. Jeff Bagwell, of course, never played for a team other than the Houston Astros at the big league level.
Though Raines had some good seasons with the Chicago White Sox and though he helped provide a nice kick start to the Yankees dynasty in the mid-1990s, his best seasons, by far, took place while he was an Expo. It’s also the case that the bulk of his Hall of Fame push came from Expos fans. He was particularly boosted by Jonah Keri, who recently wrote a book detailing the history of the Expos. So, yeah, that’s easy.
Rodriguez played 13 of his 21 years with the Texas Rangers, including his MVP 1999 season. He did have some notable years elsewhere, particularly in Detroit where he remains a fan favorite, but it was always going to be the Rangers for him, one would think. Maybe a slight, slight chance that he’d do the blank cap thing, Greg Maddux-style, but smart money was on the Rangers.
With Bagwell, the only question is which Astros cap he’ll wear. There are a couple of applicable ones: the brick red star, which he wore to the World Series in 2005. There’s also the shooting star cap he wore during his best seasons and which Craig Biggio’s plaque displays. He was around for the classic “H” over the star look, but he was just a kid then, so I doubt he’d wear it.
Anyway, sorry to the Marlins fans who wished that Raines and Pudge would wear the fishy-F.