Lukas: Trades, uniform changes present Hall of Fame cap dilemma

From SABR member Paul Lukas at on January 28, 2015:

In the beginning, it was easy. Baseball players, especially good ones, tended to spend the bulk of their careers — or at least the best parts of their careers — with one team. So if a player was good enough to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, there usually wasn’t any question or debate regarding which team’s cap would be depicted on his plaque in Cooperstown.

Then came free agency, salary dumps, frantic trade-deadline deals spurred by the addition of wild-card playoff spots, and so on, all of which gave rise to the now-familiar debates about which team’s cap should be shown on a Hall inductee’s plaque. In some cases, these debates are resolved by depicting the inductee with no cap logo at all.

You’d think new inductee Craig Biggio would easier. A rarity in today’s game, he spent his entire 20-year career with one team — the Astros. But that’s the problem: Biggio spent so long in Houston that his career spanned three distinct eras in Astros uniform history, each with its own headwear logo. Which one should appear on his plaque?

Biggio hasn’t decided yet, and it’s possible that we won’t know the answer until his plaque is unveiled at his induction July 26. In any case, his situation underscores a little-noted development that is likely to complicate the plaque-design process in coming years: In addition to players changing teams more often than in the past, teams are changing uniforms more frequently as well.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 28, 2015. Last Updated: January 28, 2015.