Will Justin Verlander represent Astros or Tigers in inevitable Hall of Fame selection?

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Will Justin Verlander represent Astros or Tigers in inevitable Hall of Fame selection?

Though most of his years were spent in a Tigers jersey, Just Verlander has made a solid case to enter Cooperstown as an Astro.

Though most of his years were spent in a Tigers jersey, Just Verlander has made a solid case to enter Cooperstown as an Astro.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Though most of his years were spent in a Tigers jersey, Just Verlander has made a solid case to enter Cooperstown as an Astro.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Though most of his years were spent in a Tigers jersey, Just Verlander has made a solid case to enter Cooperstown as an Astro.

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The best things get better with age. Naturally, the first things that come to mind are whiskey and wine. But I would say there is one more candidate riding close behind: great pitching.

Astros pitcher Justin Verlander is in the middle of a legendary run as one of the best pitchers of this era.

In 15 seasons, Verlander has put together a resume that many would argue is already worthy of enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He was awarded the American League MVP and Cy Young Award in 201, and finished second in Cy Young voting three times. Additionally, he added an American League Championship Series MVP trophy to his collection, along with a World Series championship in 2017.

It’s obvious that Verlander will be inducted into the Hall as soon as he is eligible. The question is, what hat will he be wearing when he is?

When players are inducted into Cooperstown, the committee in charge must select what team’s hat the player will don on their induction plaque. This team is the one that the committee feels the player, “made his most indelible mark,” as former Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said in a 2009 interview with ESPN.

For many players, the decision is simple. Like MLB “Iron Man” Cal Ripken Jr., who played all 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles. So, it’s a no-brainer to induct Ripken wearing an Orioles hat. However, some players such as the ageless wonder Nolan Ryan play for several teams over the course of their careers.

Ryan, for instance, played on four teams over 27 years and dominated the whole way through. While Ryan pitched the majority of his career with the Angels and the Astros, his induction plaque has Ryan donning a Texas Rangers hat, a team he only played with for his final five seasons.

This induction comes despite leading the league in strikeouts in seven of his seasons with the Angels and having three of his six postseason appearances with the Astros. However, the decision to have Ryan wear a Rangers cap comes from him having his 300th win and throwing his record seventh no-hitter. So the precedent has been set to forgo time with a team in favor of accolades and milestones.

That brings us back to Verlander. What hat will he wear? Will he be donning a Tiger hat, where he has played the majority of his career? Or will he wear an Astros cap, where he revitalized his career and earned himself and his club their first ring?

As it currently stands, Houston has a fair shot.

While the bulk of his stats and his only Cy Young happened while he was wearing a Tigers jersey, he has morphed back into a Cy Young candidate as a 36-year-old, and is the ace of one of the most dominant pitching rotations of all time.

Thus far in Verlander’s short time in Houston he has won a championship, an ALCS MVP, thrown for his third career no-hitter, lead the league in strikeouts in 2018 and lead the league in WHIP back to back seasons.

There is no sign of him slowing down, either, both metaphorically and physically; he is still one of the most dominant fastballers in the league. Verlander is also under contract through the next two seasons, allowing more stats to pile up in Houston.

Should Verlander be part of another World Series team and win his second Cy Young, he should be inducted into Cooperstown as an Astro.

He definitely would have made his “most indelible mark” there.