First, from the Hall of Fame's Thursday press release:
In conjunction with the Hall of Fame, the six members of the class of 2014 have made their selections for the logo inclusion on their Hall of Fame plaque: Bobby Cox – Atlanta; Tom Glavine – Atlanta; Tony La Russa – no logo; Greg Maddux – no logo; Frank Thomas – Chicago White Sox; and Joe Torre – New York Yankees.
“The Museum staff works with each inductee by suggesting an appropriate logo option, or no logo at all,” said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “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 belong to every team for which he played or managed, as well as every fan who followed his career.”
Next, the outrage!
Actually, I haven't seen any outrage. But that's probably because I didn't look. I keep seeing references to outrage, though, so I'm going to assume it exists among a particularly rabid segment of Braves fans. Because Greg Maddux didn't choose a team. Even though the Braves were the obvious choice.
Here's how this works: If a Hall of Famer has a preference -- and I'm guessing the vast majority of them do -- the Hall's not going to squawk much unless the preference is patently ridiculous. For example, there was a story about Wade Boggs essentially selling his preference to the Devil Rays (with whom he finished his career). That's clearly inappropriate, since it's not actually Wade Boggs' plaque; it's the Hall of Fame's plaque, and ultimately it's the Hall of Fame's prerogative.
That said, you can imagine any number of reasons why the Hall of Fame wants to keep the Hall of Famers happy.
Catfish Hunter did the great majority of his work for the Oakland A's, but didn't want to wear an A's cap on his plaque. Why not? I don't know. But George Steinbrenner treated Hunter exceptionally well, from his record-breaking contract to various post-career honors. On the cover of Hunter's 1988 memoir, he's pitching in pinstripes. Steinbrenner actually wrote the foreword (and makes the seemingly bizarre claim that the Yankees retired Hunter's number, which does not seem to be true). So Hunter remains logo-less, despite winning 161 games with the A's and only 63 with the Yankees. It seems that Hunter thought of himself as a Yankee. It's possible that he actually wanted a Yankees cap on his Hall of Fame plaque, and no logo at all was the compromise.
Greg Maddux won 194 games with the Braves, plus three of his four Cy Young Awards. The choice seems obvious ... unless you're Greg Maddux, and perhaps you've got a grudge against the organization for some reason. Or, more likely, you just don't want to close any doors in Chicago, where you started your career and ultimately won 133 games. It wouldn't have been difficult for Maddux to convince the Hall of Fame that he couldn't choose one team over the other. So now he gets to have it both ways.
Well, sort of. He's probably made a few Cubs fans happy, and a few more Braves fans unhappy. Without closing any doors, though. And ultimately only a few crazed aficionados like us will even remember.