So, which caps do the Hall of Fame inductees wear on their plaques?

48 Comments

I lost all faith in caps-on-plaques last year when my favorite baseball player of all time decided that he’d rather have a blank cap than wear a Braves cap on his plaque as God and Ted Turner intended. But it’s still a thing people talk about, so let’s talk about what the current crop of inductees should wear. Obviously, a couple of these are no-brainers.

John Smoltz. I eagerly await tomorrow’s New York papers to see which of them refer to “Former Yankee” Randy Johnson and “Former Met” Pedro Martinez in their headlines, but New York isn’t the only provincial sports town around. Indeed, this is one of the best tweets I’ve seen today:

I am going to assume that this is tongue-in-cheek. If it is not, please don’t tell me because I don’t want to hate the world any more than I already do. BRAVES.

Craig Biggio: Dude only played for one team, but that team wore multiple caps during his tenure. For his first six seasons, Biggio wore the classic star-H, but those weren’t his best seasons, even if they featured his best cap. His best years actually came in their worst cap, the no-color flying star cap. I feel like most of us remember him in his late-period cap, however, and if I had to guess, that’s the cap he wears. Not that it’s all that different from the previous one. SOME ASTROS CAP.

source:

Sorry, Dodgers fans. You’re getting a bit uppity lately. Have to remind you that your team didn’t always have a smart front office.

Pedro Martinez: There is some Expos-love for Martinez and, with apologies to my friend Jonah Keri, Expos love can be a pretty irrational thing. We give Expos people a pass on that, though, because they had their team taken away and, well, they’re entitled to be a bit neurotic about things. That stuff aside, however, Pedro’s best seasons were clearly in Boston, as were his most memorable moments. RED SOX.

Randy Johnson: I figured this one would not be controversial, but for whatever reason I have a LOT of people on my Twitter feed today telling me that The Big Unit should wear a Mariners cap on his plaque. Which is ridiculous. He won four straight Cy Youngs and a World Series in his first four season in Arizona. He had only two fewer seasons there than he had in Seattle, but his overall numbers were better in Arizona, and that’s even including two years in his second, decline-era stint there. Maybe we first heard of Randy Johnson as a Mariner and maybe that’s where he truly became The Big Unit, but he became a Hall of Famer in the desert. If he chooses to go in blank like Greg Maddux did (sob) so be it, but if he lets the Hall choose, they had best choose the Dbacks’ ugly-ass early 2000s cap.

Or, heck, maybe the crazy Expos people will take over again:

source:

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
0 Comments

ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.