Pirates' pillbox hats will return in 2016; MLB should allow Stargell Stars to go with them

The Stargell Stars were named after late, great Pirates Hall of Famer Willie Stargell, or "Pops," as he was known as to many. Rich Pilling/Getty Images

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Sometimes the best ideas are simple and make all the sense in the world, and on Wednesday's podcast, a thought popped up in the midst of a discussion about one of the uniform changes we'll see in 2016: the Pirates' return, on Sunday home games, to the late '70s style, including the pillbox hats worn by Willie Stargell, Dave Parker and Co.

It was suggested that maybe the Pirates could revisit Stargell's practice of rewarding players with stars on their hats -- aka the Stargell Stars -- for important deeds.

As the podcast taping came to a close, the Pirates were going through pregame work on McKechnie Field here, and between rounds of batting practice, I asked Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen, the keeper of the franchise flame, about the thought of Stargell Stars for the new/old uniforms.

McCutchen loves to draw and is steeped in knowledge of the Pirates' history, and he nodded immediately and said the concept of the Stargell Stars had popped into his head as soon as he heard the alternative jerseys would be used.

Imagine how it would play out, in theory: Pirates players could be awarded stars as the season progressed, in the clubhouse after victories, or maybe even during postgame interviews, in lieu of pies to the face. Then, when Pittsburgh hosted a Sunday game, the players could bring out their Stargell Star-studded hats, in homage to the Pirates' history and to the Hall of Famer Stargell.

There would be a significant hurdle to clear for something like this to happen. Generally speaking, MLB does not allow extras to be added to players' hats during regular-season games, discouraging them from adding initials and other adornments, out of concern that it would open a Pandora's box.