Greg Maddux, Tony La Russa will have no logo on their Hall of Fame caps
In April 2001, Dave Winfield announced he was going into the Hall of Fame with a San Diego Padres logo on the cap of his plaque.
"I had no idea when I was elected in January," Winfield said then, "that I would have to think about it and look at this for so long, and from so many ways. This has been an extremely tough decision."
All the men elected to the Hall since Winfield -- including the six elected as the Class of 2014 -- have not had to make that tough decision.
Because it's not up to them. It's up to the Hall.
The Hall's change of policy, enacted later that year, came into play on Thursday when the cap decisions of this year's inductees were announced.
Two of the inductees -- pitcher Greg Maddux and manager Tony La Russa -- will have no logo on their caps. That's the Hall's compromise position when a Hall of Famer is linked to more than one team.
Maddux won 194 games and three of his four Cy Young Awards with the Atlanta Braves. He won 133 games and one Cy Young Award with the Chicago Cubs. La Russa started his career with the White Sox, won a World Series with the Oakland A's and earned two more championships with the St. Louis Cardinals.
So rather than have the inductees face Winfield's "extremely tough decision," the Hall -- in consultation with Maddux and La Russa -- made the final call.
Both men said they approved of their logo-less plaques.
"For me, I couldn't pick," Maddux said. "I really couldn't. Both places mean so much to me personally and my family. I'm going to go in as neutral, I guess."
When he was elected in December, La Russa said: "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."
Of the 300 previous Hall of Famers, 128 plaques feature no cap or no logo on the cap, according to Hall of Fame vice president of communications and education Brad Horn. (That figure includes umpires and executives.)
"There has always been an option of no logo being part of the cap/plaque process," Horn said.
Why did the Hall change its policy in 2001?
"To really take the debate out of the hands of an individual player," Horn said. "There may have been issues leading up to that time period where an individual felt a really tough decision at hand, so the museum felt at that time that the position of the museum having that final say would help the inductee by taking that decision out of his hands.
"Prior to '01, the museum did give the player the discretion on the plaque choice. Starting in '01-02, the museum took a more resolute stand that the final decision was the museum's. Of course, we worked with the player and took the player's wishes into account, but it was the museum's place to properly place the majority of an individual's achievements with a team of record."
Taking the choice out of the inductee's hands also reduces the chance of chicanery. Winfield, who actually played more games with the Yankees than the Padres, was accused in 2001 of having a $1-million personal-services contract with the Padres that helped sway his cap choice. Both the player and the club denied it.
In perhaps the most famous example, Wade Boggs was said to have had a clause in his contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays that stated he would choose their cap if elected to the Hall. At the time, the Devil Rays were a downtrodden expansion franchise with no history of its own.
Boggs, who denied the clause ever existed, went into the Hall in 2005 with a properly fitting cap -- that of the Boston Red Sox. Fitting, because Boggs had 2,098 hits with Boston and 210 with the then-Devil Rays, with whom he finished his career and picked up his 3,000th hit.
The other four inductees this year were logo no-brainers: Joe Torre (Yankees), Bobby Cox (Braves), Frank Thomas (White Sox) and Tom Glavine (Braves).