Jeff Bagwell got fielding advice from Ozzie Smith during a pitching change


The linked article is about way more than that. It’s Brian McTaggart of talking with Jeff Bagwell about a number of things. Which is notable, because Bagwell has become a relative recluse since leaving the game. Or, at the very least, does’t give a lot of interviews.

But he talks about his Hall of Fame chances. About how he cares more that long-time teammate Craig Biggio gets in than him. He talks about when he was a non-prospect in the Red Sox organization and how Houston gave him a shot. And how Ken Caminiti took him under his wing “for good and for bad but mostly for good” once he was traded to the Astros.

But my favorite bit in there is him talking about his move from third base to first base and how he was having trouble with it. And how, one day, during a pitching change in an Astros-Cardinals game, Ozzie Smith gave him some fielding advice while he was standing on first base.  Just kind of neat and remarkable.

Good story. And while I’m not holding my breath, here’s hoping a postscript with his Hall of Fame induction can be added tomorrow.

Hall of Fame will no longer use Chief Wahoo on Hall of Fame plaques

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Last month, in the wake of his election to the Hall of Fame, Jim Thome made it clear that he wanted to be inducted as a Cleveland Indian but that he did not want to have Chief Wahoo on his plaque.

His reasoning: even though that was the cap he wore for almost all of his time in Cleveland, “because of all the history and everything involved” he did not think it was the right thing to do. The context, of course, was the club’s decision, under pressure from Major League Baseball, to scrap the Wahoo logo due to its racial insensitivity, which it appears Thome agrees with.

Hall plaque decisions are not 100% up to the player, however. Rather, the Hall of Fame, while taking player sentiment into account, makes a judgment about the historical accuracy and representativeness of Hall plaques. This is to prevent a club from entering into a contract with a player to wear its logo on the plaque even if he only played with them for a short time or from a player simply picking his favorite club (or spiting his least-favorite), even if he only spent an inconsequential season or two there. Think Wade Boggs as a Devil Ray or Frank Robinson as, I dunno, a Dodger.

In the case of Chief Wahoo, the Hall has not only granted Thome’s wish, but has decreed that no new plaque will have Wahoo on it going forward:

To be fair, I can’t think of another player who wore Wahoo who would make the Hall of Fame in an Indians cap after Thome. Possibly Manny Ramirez if he ever gets in, though he may have a better claim to a Red Sox cap (debate it in the comments). Albert Belle appears on Veterans Committee ballots, but I’d bet my cats that he’s never getting it in. If younger players like Corey Kluber or Francisco Lindor or someone make it in, they’ll likely have just as much history in a Block-C or whatever the Indians get to replace Wahoo with than anything else, so it’s not really an issue for them.

Still, a nice gesture from the Hall, both to accommodate Thome’s wishes and to acknowledge the inappropriateness of using Chief Wahoo for any purpose going forward.