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Vladimir Guerrero asks fans to decide Hall of Fame legacy

Montreal Expos Vladimir Guerrero is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo homerun off Atlanta Braves pitcher Haracio Ramirz during second inning NL action Monday, Sept. 15, 2003 in Montreal.

PAUL CHIASSON/CP

Former Expos great Vladimir Guerrero has brought a new twist to an old debate, polling fans on Twitter about what team cap he should be portrayed with, should he be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Tweeting in English and Spanish, the retired outfielder from the Dominican Republic asked whether his primary team should be the Montreal Expos, where he spent his first eight years in the majors, or the Anaheim Angels, where played the following six seasons.

"In case I have the honor of being selected to Cooperstown, which cap will you like me to use in the plaque?" he tweeted Sunday night.

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Guerrero, 41, repeated the message in his native Spanish.

Having last played in 2011, Guerrero is eligible for election to the Hall for the first time this year.

A nine-time all-star, he has a .318 career batting average and was voted the American League's most valuable player in 2004. Guerrero also played single seasons for the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles.

Every Hall of Fame inductee is honoured with a plaque where he is portrayed wearing the cap of the most important team he played for during his career.

While the player's wishes are considered, the Hall of Fame ultimately decides which team cap and logo will be featured.

The Hall says that as a museum, it has a responsibility to highlight the team where that player made the biggest impact on the game's history.

For other former members of the now-defunct Montreal Expos, the choice has been tricky.

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The late catcher Gary Carter, the first Expo in the Hall when he was elected in 2003, had said his loyalties were torn between Montreal and the New York Mets.

"If the Expos are no longer in existence, how is that going to be beneficial to me and my family when we have an opportunity to be part of a family that will be around a long time?" Carter said at the time. "Everybody knows my feelings. But it wasn't up to me."

In 2010, outfielder Andre Dawson said he would have preferred to be portrayed as a Chicago Cub, rather than as a former member of the Expos, a team that he left on bad terms. However, the Hall deemed that his 11 seasons in Montreal were more significant than his time in Chicago.

"It was a little gut-wrenching for me to hear that, but it's their decision," Dawson said afterward.

Two of the four players inducted in the class of 2015, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson, were once Expos but were inducted as representatives of other teams.

Martinez became an all-star during his four years as an Expo, winning his first Cy Young Award, but the Hall decided that his seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox were more significant.

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Similarly, Johnson made his major-league debut with the Expos but was inducted with a Seattle Mariners cap.

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About the Author
National reporter

Tu Thanh Ha is based in Toronto and writes frequently about judicial, political and security issues. He spent 12 years as a correspondent for the Globe and Mail in Montreal, reporting on Quebec politics, organized crime, terror suspects, space flights and native issues. More

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