While the Baseball Hall of Fame (BBHOF) announcements have come and gone without any Detroit Tigers making the cut, a former manager made it before the Writer's Association announcement. While Gary Sheffield did not make the cut during his tenth & final year of eligibility, Jim Leyland did.
The former Detroit Tigers skipper was crowned a Hall of Famer by the Veterans Committee, an honor that he is more than deserving of. But a plaque comes with his induction to the Hall of Fame this summer and caused a discussion. That plaque will feature Leyland in a ball cap, but with what logo?
It was announced on Friday that Leyland will not have a logo. He will enter the Hall of Fame and be inducted later this summer in 2024, but his plaque will not feature a Tigers cap, or Pirates cap for that matter.
One of the choices that some players, managers, etc, must make when elected to the Hall of Fame is what logo will be placed on their cap. There is no decision for a player like Joe Mauer, who spent his whole career in Minnesota. But for someone like Vladimir Guerrero, who played for four-ball clubs, but mostly the Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Angels, he had the decision to make.
For Jim Leyland, the decision came down to two teams. The Pittsburgh Pirates, where he started his managerial career, and the Detroit Tigers, where he finished it. Both organizations meant a ton for Leyland and his career in baseball, but it was a tough choice.
Leyland did begin his career in Detroit as a player, but he was elected for his career as a manager. He spoke about it being a hard choice, and ultimately, in the words of Tony Paul from his article in The Detroit News, "he did not want to make the choice."
It can be a tough decision. It can ruffle some feathers with an organization and its fans since people take all of these things to heart. For Leyland, it was easier not to make the decision, and the BBHOF has already encountered this situation and has a solution with the no-logo plaques.
With that said, Leyland's plaque will have no caps; that way, neither the Tigers nor Pirates will be slighted by his decision. One thing will be certain, though: Leyland is in the Hall of Fame, as he deserves to be. His time in Detroit was great, and he truly was one of the best leaders for this organization.
When Leyland was in Detroit, it was a great time. Frankly, it's what I remember about Tigers baseball from my youth. Those were the good ol' days, indeed. Leyland will head into the BBHOF with no logo on his cap; realistically, it's a minor detail.
He'll always be a big piece of Detroit Tigers history, and someone Tigers fans view as a legend. Congratulations once again to Skip.