Was this the right move?
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Updated: February 25, 2014 6:32AM
Cubs fans who hated the idea of seeing Greg Maddux sporting a Braves cap on his Hall of Fame plaque can breathe a sigh of relief. Maddux and Hall officials settled things Thursday by deciding no logo was the best option.
Maddux and Tony La Russa, who began his managerial career with the White Sox, have opted to have no logos on their plaques that will be shown in the Hall’s gallery in Cooperstown, N.Y. Sox great Frank Thomas, who spent seasons with the Athletics and Blue Jays late in his career, will wear a Sox cap on his plaque.
Hall president Jeff Idelson says his staff works with each inductee to decide the appropriate logo — or to go with no logo at all.
“For those whose most compelling contributions clearly took place with one team, a logo makes sense,” Idelson said. “For those whose careers were built significantly among multiple teams, not having a team logo is equally acceptable. Regardless of the selection, a Hall of Famer belongs to every team for which he played or managed, as well as every fan who followed his career.”
There are 128 plaques (out of 300) in the Hall that feature players wearing caps with no logos. Catfish Hunter, who starred with the A’s and Yankees, was the last inductee to go in without a logo. Hunter was inducted in 1987.
After giving the decision much thought, Maddux decided no logo was the best solution to honor his career that included two stops with the Cubs, huge years with the Braves and final stops with the Padres and Dodgers.
“My wife, Kathy, and I grew up in baseball in Chicago, and then we had just an amazing experience in Atlanta with the Braves,” Maddux said. “It’s impossible for me to choose one of those teams for my Hall of Fame plaque, as the fans of both clubs in each of those cities were so wonderful. I can’t think of having my Hall of Fame induction without the support of both of those fan bases.”
La Russa won World Series with the A’s and Cardinals but knows his roots go back to Chicago.
“The Chicago White Sox gave me my start in the game as a big-league manager for my first eight seasons in my 33-year managerial career,” La Russa said. “In Oakland, we recorded four first-place finishes in 10 years, winning three pennants and a World Series. And in St. Louis, our clubs won three pennants and two titles in 16 years. It’s the totality of the success of each of those three teams that led me to Cooperstown, so I am choosing to not feature a logo so that fans of all clubs can celebrate this honor with me.”
For Thomas, there was no option but the Sox.
“I was drafted by Chicago in the first round and for 16 of my 19 seasons, I was fortunate to play there,” Thomas said. “I had wonderful seasons in Oakland and Toronto as part of my career, but my Hall of Fame election is celebrated most by the fans of Chicago and the priceless memories I will always treasure on the South Side, which is why my plaque will feature a Sox logo.”
Maddux, Thomas and former Braves pitcher Tom Glavine were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Jan. 8. La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre were elected to the Hall by the Expansion Era Committee a month earlier.
The six newest members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame will take their permanent place in Cooperstown on July 27.