It was seen as a given that Greg Maddux would go into the Hall of Fame wearing the cap of the Atlanta Braves, the team for which he spent the most time and had the most success.
But the Hall announced Thursday that Maddux’s plaque will have no logo, a small but telling victory for the Cubs, who let the four-time Cy Young Award winner leave as a free agent in his prime.
Of the six new inductees into the Hall, only Maddux and Tony La Russa will go in without a logo on their plaques.
“My wife Kathy and I grew up in baseball in Chicago, and then we just had an amazing experience in Atlanta with the Braves,” Maddux said in a statement. “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 plaque 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.”
Later on, speaking to reporters at a Rangers mini-camp, where he’s a special assistant to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, Maddux said he felt good about the decision.
“I spent half my career in Chicago and half my career in Atlanta,” he said. I came up a Cub, played there for six years and went back for three more. I was in Atlanta for 11 years. It comes out to about the same amount of time in both cities.
La Russa gave a similar response in his statement, which read: “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 not to feature a logo so that fans of all clubs can celebrate this honor with me.”
When he was elected in December, La Russa said of the cap decision: “All I know is in no way do I want to disrespect Chicago, Oakland or St. Louis, so we’ve got to figure something out where they’re not disrespected.”
The other four members’ cap decisions were much more clear-cut. Manager Bobby Cox and Tom Glavine both will go in with Braves’ caps, Frank Thomas will have a White Sox cap and Joe Torre will go in as a Yankee.
The Hall of Fame and Museum “works with each inductee by suggesting an appropriate logo option, or no logo at all,” said Hall president Jeff Idelson in a statement.
Hall spokesman Brad Horn said the Hall makes the decisions “in conjunction” with the inductee, meaning they suggested no logo and Maddux agreed.
“The ‘no logo’ option provides an opportunity for every team and every fan to celebrate you without having to exclude them,” Horn said. “It’s been part of the option, and something that certainly makes sense for a guy Greg, where there are two fan bases that are of great importance to him.”
Of the 300 members in the Hall of Fame, 128 have no logo on their plaques. The last was Catfish Hunter, who starred with both the A’s and Yankees.