Before you get too heated in your debate as to whether Greg Maddux should don the Atlanta Braves cap for his Hall of Fame plaque or that of the Chicago Cubs, we should inform you that it will be neither.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame (h/t For the Win) announced on Thursday which caps will be represented in the upcoming plaques for those fortunate enough to have been voted into the prestigious hall.
For the most part, there isn't a great deal of surprises. Tom Glavine and Bobby Cox will enter boasting the Braves logo. Frank Thomas opts to represent the White Sox faithful, and Joe Torre will feature the Yankees logo on his plaque.
However, there are two inductees who decided their plaques will be blank slates, clearly devoid of any visible logo or team identifier: Greg Maddux and Tony La Russa.
Maddux had this statement for his fans:
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.
From 1986-1992, Maddux would win 95 games for the Cubs, garnering 20 wins in '92 while also commanding a 2.18 ERA.
Of course, he would then leave for the Braves, where he enjoyed tremendous success in Atlanta. He won the NL ERA title three years straight, nabbed three more Cy Young Awards to go with the one he earned with the Cubs, and, most importantly, helped the franchise win a World Series in 1995.
In 2004, Maddux returned to the Cubs before finishing his prolific career with stints with the Padres and Dodgers.
As for La Russa, it's clear his heart is stretched across the nation as well. Here is what he had to say about heading into the Hall of Fame without the usual accompaniment of a 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.
Sure, there might be some fans put off by not having a pitcher or manager enter the hall waving their figurative flag, but it's their honor, and it is truly their decision to make.
Each individual fan will remember the legendary pitcher and manager in their own way anyway, so this is hardly cause for any debate or consternation.
In choosing to enter with a blank cap, Maddux and La Russa are being far more inclusive than their gesture might suggest.
By embracing nothing, they once again doff their caps to the cities that helped shape their careers.
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