Newly elected Hall of Famer Mike Mussina played 10 years with the Orioles and eight with the Yankees, so which team’s logo will appear on his cap in Cooperstown?
Mussina announced Friday that his cap on his plaque will be blank when he’s inducted July 21. He said at the Hall of Fame press conference that he didn’t know which team to choose, because he wouldn’t have been going to Cooperstown without playing for either team.
Mussina pitched in six postseason games for the Orioles, 17 for the Yankees, including games in two World Series.
The family of the late Roy Halladay, who was killed a year ago when the plane he was piloting crashed off the coast of Florida, also decided to go without a logo on his cap. He played for Toronto and Philadelphia.
Halladay, Mussina, Greg Maddux and Tony La Russa are the only members in the Hall without a logo on their caps.
La Russa went into the Hall as a manager. He was caught in the middle between wearing an Oakland or St. Louis cap. He won World Series titles in both cities. He also managed the White Sox.
Maddux couldn’t choose between the Cubs and Braves. Most people think of Maddux as a Brave, but he had 133 wins with 47 complete games and 14 shutouts for the Cubs. He won a Cy Young as a Cub and three as a Brave. He won 194 games with Atlanta.
The logo decision is up to the player, but ultimately, the Hall of Fame has veto power and the final say. The reason is that the Hall wants to keep a historically accurate record. The Hall also wants to prevent a player from marketing his logo selection.
When Dave Winfield was elected, there was speculation that he wanted to go in as a Yankee, but that his original team, the Padres, was offering him a job if he wore their logo. He’s a Padre in Cooperstown.
There’s plenty of history in the logo issue:
* In 2003, catcher Gary Carter had to choose between the Montreal Expos and New York Mets. Carter played 11 seasons with the Expos and five with the Mets. Montreal no longer has a team and Carter felt connected to the Mets because he played on their 1986 World Series title team. But the Hall said he had to go in as an Expo.
* When Andre Dawson was elected, he asked if he could go in as a Cub, but the Hall rejected the request and said that it was better for him to go in an Expo. Dawson played 11 seasons with the Expos and six with the Cubs. He didn’t win in either city, but he did win the National League MVP with the Cubs.
* Oakland wanted Reggie Jackson to go into Cooperstown as an Athletic, but, even though he played 10 of his 21 seasons on the West Coast, Jackson went in as a Yankee. The Hall agreed, given that he had earned his “Mr. October’’ nickname for the Yankees in the 1977 World Series. Jackson helped Oakland with three World Series from 1972-1974.
* When Frank Robinson was elected, he had to choose between the Cincinnati Reds and Orioles. He played six seasons with the Orioles and won two World Series in Baltimore, 1966 and 1970. He won the NL Rookie of the Year and NL MVP with the Reds. The Orioles and their dominant championship teams won out.
* Pitcher Randy Johnson developed into a stud pitcher with Seattle. He won 130 games for the Mariners and was on their first playoff team in 1995. But, Johnson chose the logo of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team he helped win the 2001 World Series.Nolan Ryan, who threw seven no-hitters, played nine years in Houston and eight years with the Angels. He also played for the New York Mets. But, in the Hall, he’s wearing a Rangers cap, even though he didn’t make his first start with the Rangers until he was 42.