After the Baseball Hall of Fame inductees are announced each year, one of the fun things to do is figure out which team logo will appear on each inductees Hall of Fame plaque. Probably few would have guessed the choice made by Greg Maddux and Tony La Russa, two of this year's inductees: They will not have a team logo on the cap on their plaques.
La Russa managed the Chicago White Sox, Oakland A's and St. Louis Cardinals. Most predicted he would choose the Cardinals. On Thursday, La Russa announced his reasoning for no logo:
"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. 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."
Maddux pitched for the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Dodgers and San Diego Padres, but he won three of his four Cy Young Awards and his only World Series ring with the Braves, so they were the odds-on favorite to appear on his plaque. Maddux explains why he went with no logo:
"My wife, Kathy, and I grew up in baseball in Chicago, and then we had just an amazing experience in Atlanta with the Braves. 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 support of both of those fan bases, so, for that reason, the cap on my Hall of Fame plaque will not feature a logo."
The Hall of Fame has final say in what logo appears on the plaque, but it rarely overrides the choice of the inductee.
"The museum staff works with each inductee by suggesting an appropriate logo option, or no logo at all," Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said. "For those whose most compelling contributions clearly took place with one team, a logo makes sense. 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."
Nine other Hall of Fame players -- Yogi Berra, Catfish Hunter, Andy Cooper, Frank Grant, Pete Hill, Biz Mackey, Luis Santop, Ben Taylor and Cristobal Torriente -- do not have cap logos on their plaques.
Of the other Hall of Famers to be inducted on July 27, pitcher Tom Glavine and manager Bobby Cox will be inducted as Braves, first baseman Frank Thomas as a White Sox, and manager Joe Torre as a Yankee.