After a personal letter from Commissioner Bud Selig, plus talks between the players' union and baseball management as the Fourth of July approached, Keith Foulke reluctantly packed away his Boston cap that featured a patch of the American flag.
"I still think I should be able to wear it," the Red Sox reliever said this week at Yankee Stadium. "But I don't want to do anything that would cost the team."
Foulke was the only player in the majors with his own such hat. The son of a U.S. Air Force man, he wore it most of the season to show his support for the American troops in Iraq.
"It's not like I was trying to call attention to myself," he said. "I'm a patriotic person, and it's just a personal thing I wanted to do. It was only about an inch square, on the left side, and a lot of people didn't even notice it."
But the commissioner's office saw it. Soon after, Foulke said, he began getting letters from Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations, saying the cap violated baseball's standard uniform code.
According to the sport's labor agreement, players cannot make individual changes to hats, jerseys and anything else they wear.
* ON THE DL: Todd Hollandsworth, who has been a valuable spot starter, backup and pinch hitter this season for the Cubs, was put on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised right shin.
-- Associated Press