Sunday, July 27, 2014

Baseball Hall of Fame thinks fans are easily confused by two-syllable names

Big problems with the Baseball Hall of Fame plaques unveiled today.

The obvious issue is that neither of the two guys representing the Mets are wearing the Mets logo on their plaque caps.

Tom Glavine as an Atlanta Brave? Seriously? As if any one remembers Glavine’s time down South. Remember, earned No. 300 as a Met.

Then you have Joe Torre, who, for some odd reason, is shown wearing a Yankees cap. Right city, wrong cap.

You’d think the Hall would want to salute the next-to-last player-manager in baseball, a highlight of Torre’s tenure in Flushing, rather than guiding a number of steroid-soaked Yankee teams to ill-gained championships.

Torre would  be wise to simply slip those trophies over to the more deserving teams, especially the one from 2000.

But I’m not even talking about those slights.

The Hall, apparently, thinks baseball fans are easily confused by common two-syllable names.

In the past, Hall of Fame plaques would list a player’s full name. If necessary, it the plaque also included a nickname.

Let’s use plaques from some other former Mets misidentified with lesser teams as examples.

Sometimes this was essential, as with Lawrence Peter Berra, “Yogi.”

Sometimes it was more playful, as with Willie Howard Mays, Jr., “The Say Hey Kid” and Gary Edmund Carter, “Kid.”

But in recent years, for some odd reason, the Hall decided that fans needed to see in quotes shortened versions of very common names.

Glavine’s plaque reads Thomas Michael Glavine, “Tom.” Torre’s reads Joseph Paul Torre, “Joe.” Tony LaRussa’s plaque reads Anthony LaRussa, “Tony” and Bobby Cox’s reads “Robert Joe Cox, “Bobby.”

Greg Maddux’ plaque is a total mess, with Gregory Alan Maddux, “Greg” “Mad Dog.” Yes, two nicknames. Imagine -- a guy named Gregory getting called "Greg." Didn't see that one coming.

Frank Thomas benefits from having a one-syllable first name, with his plaque reading Frank Edwin Thomas, “The Big Hurt.” You just know there was a heated conference call discussion where someone debated that “Frank” should be added along with “The Big Hurt.”

Enlighten me, Hall of Fame. After 75 years of hanging plaques on the wall, why was this suddenly necessary?
It seems that 2001 was the last year when basic, common shortenings were not included, as Dave Winfield’s plaque simply calls him David Mark Winfield without being followed by “Dave.”

There were a bunch of years with one-syllable names like Ryne and Barry, Dennis and Paul and Bruce.
Then we started getting Tony Gwynn’s plaque including “Tony” and “Mr. Padre,” Calvin Edwin Ripken Jr. with “Cal.”

Was there confusion in the past? Do people walk by the Michael Jack Schmidt plaque and wonder if it’s that’s the same Mike Schmidt who played all those years for the Phillies? Could Roland Glen Fingers be the guy with the mustache known as Rollie?

And in an example near and dear to our heart, George Thomas Seaver is identified as such without “Tom” and we all still can figure out who he is.

Hey, Hall of Fame – baseball fans are smart people. Give us some credit!


Anonymous said...

Ummm, you realize, of course, that Pete Rose was a player-manager after Torre ...


Anonymous said...

Good point! I forgot about Pete -- which is amazing. I perhaps should have said the last player-manager who wasn't banned from the game.

Warren Zvon said...

They don't have "The Franchise" or "Tom Terrific" under his name? I never noticed that. That's messed up.