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Greg Maddux

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Greg Maddux
Pitcher
Date of birth: April 14, 1966 (1966-04-14) (age 50)
Place of birth: U.S Flag San Angelo, Texas
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 3, 1986 for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 2008 for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Career information
High school: Valley HS
(Las Vegas, Nevada)
Drafted: 1984; 2nd round / 31st pick
Selected by the Chicago Cubs
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Profile @ Baseball-reference.com

Gregory Alan Maddux (born April 14, 1966, in San Angelo, Texas, USA) is an American former Major League pitcher. He is generally thought to be one of the greatest pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball, and is one of only 22 pitchers in Major League history to notch 300 career wins.

300 Win ClubEdit

Winning 300 games is a feat that is much more difficult to achieve now compared to the past due to the increased use of relief pitching, which has reduced the number of decisions for starting pitchers. In addition, Maddux has pitched his entire career in the era of the 5-man rotation, in which starters are given fewer starts per season. For that reason, some baseball historians have said he may be the last pitcher to achieve 300 career wins for decades, if not ever, although the recent return to form by his former Atlanta Braves teammate Tom Glavine has once again made Glavine a strong candidate for 300 wins. On July 26, 2005, Maddux joined an even more exclusive club when he recorded his 3,000th strikeout, a feat generally accomplished by power pitchers, not a finesse pitcher like Maddux. Although this feat has been accomplished by several other pitchers, Maddux is one of just two who have done so while allowing fewer than 1,000 walks. The only other pitcher who allowed so few walks with as many strikeouts is former Cub Fergie Jenkins. Maddux has won 20 games only twice, in 1992 and 1993 (although interrupted seasons in 1994 and 1995, when Maddux won 16 and 19 games respectively, likely cost him more). Maddux has won 19 games five times, and 18 games twice.

TeamsEdit

Maddux was drafted in the second round of the 1984 amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs, making his Major League debut in September 1986 after some time in the minor leagues. Oddly, his first appearance in a major league game was as a pinch runner. At the time, he was the youngest player in the majors.

In 1986, Maddux defeated his older brother, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mike Maddux, marking the first time rookie brothers had ever pitched against each other. In 1987, his first full season in the Majors, Maddux finished with a disappointing 6-14 record and 5.61 ERA. In 1988, Maddux surprised the league by finishing 18-8 with a 3.18 ERA. This began a streak of 17 straight seasons in which Maddux recorded 15 or more wins. No other pitcher has achieved a streak as long as Maddux's. Cy Young ranks second with 15 straight 15-win seasons.

Maddux established himself as the Cubs' ace in 1989, winning 19 games, including a September game at Montreal's Olympic Stadium that clinched the Cubs' second National League Eastern Division championship. Manager Don Zimmer tabbed him to start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants. It was a rough postseason debut for Maddux, as he was chased in the fourth inning, the lethal blow being Will Clark's grand slam home run with 2 outs in the fourth. Maddux felt that just before the grand slam, Clark was able to read Maddux's lips during a conference at the mound between Maddux and Zimmer, discerning how he was going to be pitched. Since that incident, Maddux always covers his mouth with his glove during conversations on the mound in an effort to not repeat that mistake.

After strong 1990 and 1991 seasons, Maddux came into his own in 1992, winning 20 games and his first National League Cy Young Award. During the 1992 season, negotiations between him and the Cubs became contentious and eventually broke off. Cubs' general manager Larry Himes claimed that Maddux and his agent, Scott Boras, made unreasonable demands, but Maddux and Boras insist that Himes and Tribune Company executive Jim Dowdle failed to work in good faith with them.

After the 1992 season, Maddux filed for free agency and the Cubs decided to pursue other free agents, including Jose Guzman, Dan Plesac and Candy Maldonado. After seven seasons in Chicago, Maddux signed with the Atlanta Braves.

Maddux made his Braves' debut as Opening Day Starter against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, and beat his old teammates 1-0, the losing pitcher being Maddux's good friend Mike Morgan. Maddux went on to star for the team through 2003. In his time with the Braves, he pitched in three World Series, his team winning one in 1995.

He returned to the Cubs as a free agent prior to the 2004 season. Maddux's second stint with the Cubs lasted until mid-season 2006, when for the first time in his career, he was traded, sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Cesar Izturis on July 31, 2006.

The Braves YearsEdit

Maddux's tenure with the Braves allowed him to pitch alongside Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. The three of them formed the core of some of the best pitching staffs in the history of the game, and were a large measure of the reason for the Braves winning 10 straight division titles during Maddux's Braves tenure (1993-2003, with the strike year of 1994 being excluded).

Maddux has pitched in 11 Division Series contests, 15 League Championship games and five World Series games, and has a 3.22 ERA in 190.0 post-season innings.

Maddux is also known as the best-fielding active pitcher in the game, having earned 15 Gold Glove Awards, one shy of the major-league record of 16 shared by Jim Kaat and Brooks Robinson. Maddux won 13 straight Gold Gloves from 1990 to 2003.

Maddux has been elected to the National League All-Star team eight times.

TalentsEdit

Maddux is a right-handed pitcher known for his pinpoint accuracy and his ability to psyche out hitters. While the speed of his pitches have decreased with time, and never truly having had a blazing fastball like such contemporaries as Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson, Maddux relies on location rather than power, having lost his already modest velocity over the years. Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs said of Maddux, "It seems like he's inside your mind with you. When he knows you're not going to swing, he throws a straight one. He sees into the future. It's like he has a crystal ball hidden inside his glove." Dwight Gooden once commended Maddux, saying, "You wish there was another league he could get called up to." Joe Morgan once said that "Greg Maddux could put a baseball through a Life Saver." Maddux was also remarkable for the late movement on his pitches, which, combined with his superb command, made him one of the most effective groundball pitchers in history; hitters were often unable to make solid contact with his pitches.

AccomplishmentsEdit

Maddux's best season was likely in 1995 when he finished 19-2 with an incredible 1.63 ERA in a year when the overall National League ERA was 4.23. In the strike-shortened 1994 season, he had an even lower ERA of 1.56, the best single-season ERA among currently active pitchers, which compared even more favorably to the NL in that year (4.26), but had a 16-6 record. He finished with a 2.20 ERA in 1997 and would have likely won the Cy Young Award that season had Pedro Martinez not had an even more spectacular season. In 1998, Maddux carried a cumulative 1.65 ERA through late August, but a late-season slump caused his ERA to rise to 2.22. He still ended up with the lowest ERA in the National League, struck out over 200 batters for the only time in his career, and won 18 games but was overlooked by the voters in the Cy Young balloting.

His career ERA is 3.06, second only to Pedro Martínez among all active starting pitchers. From 1993-1998, Maddux led the National League in ERA four times, and was second the other two seasons. Since the introduction of the live-ball era in 1920, there have only been five pitchers to have full-season ERAs under 1.65: Luis Tiant and Bob Gibson in the anomalous 1968 season, Dwight Gooden in 1985, and Greg Maddux, twice (1994 and 1995).

Maddux has never walked more than 82 batters in any season of his career. He has averaged fewer than 2 walks per game. In 1997, Maddux allowed 20 walks in 232+ innings, or 0.77 per 9 innings. Another strength is his defense, and he is known for his ability to field his position well. On November 14, 2002, he won his 13th straight Gold Glove Award, and added a 14th award in 2004, and a 15th in 2005.

Maddux also won four straight Cy Young Awards from 1992 to 1995, a feat matched only by Randy Johnson. He has finished as high as third in MVP voting, and has been in the top ten several times.

On April 28th, 2006, Maddux began his 21st season by winning each of his first five starts. This marked the third time winning five games in a month for Maddux, and the first time in his career that he had ever started a season off 5-0.

MiscellaneousEdit

On August 7, 2004, Maddux defeated the San Francisco Giants, 8-4, to garner his 300th career victory. He has 327 career wins under his belt, passing Eddie Plank for 11th on the all-time list. On July 26, 2005, Maddux struck out Omar Vizquel to become the thirteenth member of the 3000 strikeout club and only the ninth pitcher with both 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts. He is also one of only two pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks.

In 2003, he earned a salary of $14,750,000. His current contract pays him an average of $8,000,000 a year for the 2004-2006 seasons. Maddux was the first Major Leaguer to earn over $100,000,000 in total salary in a career.

Maddux, whose nicknames include "The Mad Dog" and "The Professor," is an avid golfer.

He graduated from Valley High School in Las Vegas, Nevada and currently maintains his residence there.

During the construction of the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta, which was converted into Turner Field after the 1996 Summer Olympics, the Braves front office challenged the golden trio of Braves starters (Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz) to win the World Series in 1995 by saying that if they did, a putting green would be installed in the locker room at Turner Field.

A baseball traditionalist, Maddux insisted that the Cubs wear their white home jersey or grey away jersey (as opposed to the team's blue "alternate" jersey) on the days that he was their starting pitcher. He also prefers to be called a baseball player, not merely a pitcher; he is a perennial Gold Glove winner and has a reputation as an effective situational batter.

Beginning in 1988, Maddux won 15 or more games for a record 17 straight seasons. This eclipsed the previous mark set by Cy Young who recorded 15 straight seasons with 15 or more victories.

StatisticsEdit

  • Tied with Steve Carlton for tenth all time in number of wins, second among active pitchers (329 wins)
  • Twelfth all time in number of career strikeouts, third among active pitchers (3148 SO's)
  • 8-time All-Star (1988, 1992, 1994-1998, 2000)
  • Second lowest career ERA among active pitchers with minimum 1000 innings pitched (3.06 ERA)*
  • Lowest ERA single season record among active pitchers at 1.56 ERA (1994)
  • Led National League in ERA four times (1993-95, 1998)
  • Led National League in wins three times (1992, 1994-95)
  • Led National League in shutouts 5 times (1994-95, 1998, 2000-01)
  • Third among active pitchers in shutouts (35)
  • Finished 3rd in National League MLB Most Valuable Player Award voting (1995)
  • Finished 5th in National League Most Valuable Player voting (1994)
  • Third among Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, first among active players with 15 (1990-2002, 2004, 2005)
  • Holds record for most consecutive seasons with 15 wins or more, with 17 (1988-2004)
  • Second in Innings Pitched among all active pitchers
  • In 1999, he ranked Number 39 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, the highest-ranking pitcher then active, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. However, when TSN updated their list in 2005, Maddux fell to number 51 despite his having since reached the 300-win and 3,000-strikeout plateaus.

*Maddux falls behind John Franco for the given record. Franco's status is a free agent and not retired; for the purposes of these statistics, Franco is not considered to be active.

See alsoEdit

Team Tenure Edit

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Tom Glavine
National League Cy Young Award
1992, 1993, 1994, 1995
Succeeded by:
John Smoltz

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