The Art (and Question) of the Farewell Tour

It is a given these days that future Hall of Famers announce their retirements in advance, so that they can receive their applause from the rest of league. It is a good tradition, allowing even every city and fanbase to show their appreciation to a transcendent talent.

It is an old tradition. During his famous “Luckiest Man” speech, for example, Lou Gehrig noted that the New York Giants had sent him a gift, despite the fact he would, he admitted, have been willing to cut his arm off to beat them.

The tradition continues to this day. Take this tidbit about what the Cardinals have given Chipper Jones:

It’s hardly surprising that the Cardinals would giving gifts to Chipper. Heck, a few days ago the Cardinal fans gave him a big round of applause during his first at-bat. Chipper will probably be getting a good reception most everywhere- in Wrigley Field, for example, he was given the Braves pennant that was used to indicate their place in the division standings.

But this leads to a interesting question: what is the proper etiquette for the teams? Do they look bad if they don’t give the retiring HoFer a gift? Like, if the Mets decide that Chipper Jones had inflicted too much pain on them during the 1990s and decide not to honor him, is that breaking one of the unwritten rules?

I think too much about some of this stuff.