Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez made a stunning, last-ditch play before exiting Saturday’s start with an injury. Down 1-0 in the second inning, Velasquez lobbed a curveball to the Nationals’ Adam Eaton, who promptly sent it back up the middle for a 96-m.p.h. line drive. The ball ricocheted off of Velasquez’s arm and rolled away from the mound. With his right arm out of commission, the pitcher chased down the ball and scooped it with his left hand, then fired it straight to first base for the third and final out of the inning.
Immediately after making the throw, Velasquez collapsed in pain and had to be escorted off the field. According to an additional report from the team, he avoided an elbow injury but was diagnosed with a bruised right forearm. There’s no word yet on how long he’s expected to be sidelined.
Prior to his impressive and painful exit, the righty completed two innings of one-run, three-strikeout ball against the Nats. The Phillies’ bullpen picked up the slack in his absence and currently holds a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth.
I guess this came out the day he was elected but I missed it somehow: Larry Walker is going to have a Rockies cap on his Fall of Fame plaque.
While it was once solely the choice of the inductee, for the past couple of decades the Hall of Fame has had final say on the caps, though the request of the inductee is noted. This is done to prevent a situation in which a cap truly misrepresents history. This issue arose around the time Wade Boggs was inducted, as he reportedly had a deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to pick their cap on his plaque which, to say the least, would’ve been unrepresentative.
There have been some mildly controversial picks in the past, and some guys who would seem to have a clear choice have gone with blank caps to avoid upsetting the fan base of one of his other teams, but Walker’s doesn’t seem all that controversial to me.
Walker played ten years in Colorado to six years in Montreal and two years in St. Louis. His numbers in Colorado were substantial better than in Montreal. His MVP Award, most of his Gold Gloves, most of his All-Star appearances, and all of his black ink with the exception of the NL doubles title in 1994 came with the Rockies too. Walker requested the Rockies cap, noting correctly that he “did more damage” in a Rockies uniform than anyplace else. And, of course, that damage is what got him elected to the Hall of Fame.
Still, I imagine fans of the old Expos will take at least some issue here. Those folks tend to be pretty possessive of their team’s old stars. It’s understandable, I suppose, given that they’ve not gotten any new ones in a decade or two. Add in the fact that Walker played for the 1994 Expos team onto which people love to project things both reasonable and unreasonable, and you can expect that the Expos dead-enders might feel a bit slighted.
Welp, sorry. A Rockies cap is the right choice. And that’s Walker’s cap will feature.