CLEVELAND -- Jim Thome loves and appreciates baseball history. When he first had the chance to play in Cleveland Stadium, his dad, Chuck, made sure his son knew how many great players had taken that field before him. He rattled off names like Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and Bob Feller."To
CLEVELAND -- Jim Thome loves and appreciates baseball history. When he first had the chance to play in Cleveland Stadium, his dad, Chuck, made sure his son knew how many great players had taken that field before him. He rattled off names like Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and Bob Feller.
"To me, it was about the tradition," Thome said of playing in Cleveland.
Now, Thome's name will be printed in bronze on a Hall of Fame plaque in Cooperstown, N.Y. The former slugger got the call on Jan. 24 that he was voted into the institution's hallowed halls by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, making Thome and Feller the only Cleveland players to be voted in on the first ballot. Thome will wear an Indians hat on his plaque and, if he has his way, it will include a Block C logo.
• Complete Hall of Fame coverage
Speaking at a taped event for season-ticket holders on Friday in downtown Cleveland -- the discussion with Indians radio voice Tom Hamilton will air at 7 p.m. ET on Feb. 9 on SportsTime Ohio -- Thome said he feels going in with a "C" on his cap is the "right thing to do." His comments came in the wake of Monday's announcement by Major League Baseball that the Indians will no longer use the Chief Wahoo logo on the team's on-field uniforms, beginning with the 2019 season.
Thome said he will discuss the logo decision with the Hall of Fame leading up to the July 29 induction ceremony, where his plaque will be revealed.
"We're going to have some thoughtful conversation once we go there," Thome said. "I know my decision would be to wear the 'C,' because I think it's the right thing to do and I fully support the way the Indians, through this week, have done the decision that they've done. That's what I support. But, to be thoughtful, I think I need to have a conversation with the Hall of Fame, because of all the history and everything involved. I just think that's the right thing to do."
Thome is the franchise's all-time home run king with 337 shots and ended with 612 homers across 22 seasons spent with the Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Twins, Dodgers and Orioles. He will be the 13th player in the Hall of Fame to claim Cleveland as his primary team, and the first voted in by the BBWAA since 1976 (Bob Lemon). Among that group, only Early Wynn's plaque has a version of the Chief Wahoo logo.
During Thome's era with the Indians, the cartoon logo was more prevalent than the Block C that the team uses as its primary symbol today. He did wear the "C" upon his return to the club during the 2011 season.
Monday's announcement that the team would discontinue the use of the logo on its uniform came after discussions with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred over the past two years. Cleveland will maintain a limited retail presence in Northeast Ohio and Goodyear, Ariz., for the Chief Wahoo mark in order to keep control over the trademark.
"Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game," Manfred said in a statement on Monday. "Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the club's use of the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, [Indians owner] Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a long-standing attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team.
"Nonetheless, the club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball and I appreciate Mr. Dolan's acknowledgement that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.