This Date In Baseball History- December 8, 2008- pitcher Greg Maddux one of the all-time greatest pitchers in baseball history announced his retirement at the age of 42. Maddux retired with a win-loss record of 355-227 and a 3.16 ERA. He won 4 National League Cy Young Awards, made 8 All-Star teams, won 18 Gold Glove Awards, led the National League in wins 3 times and in ERA 4 times. He would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2014. During his long career 23 seasons Maddux will be remembered most for his days with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves but he also spent some time with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres near the end of his career. Maddux was not a fireballer- but an artist who relied on his pin point control and ability to hit the corners. Incredibly Maddux only spent one stint in his entire career on the disabled list- and it wasn’t for arm issues but for nerve inflammation in his back in 2002. In his younger years his fastball topped off at 93 MPH and by his later years it was at 86 MPH but Maddux was an example that you can win without the overpowering fastball- he used his intelligence to outsmart the hitters. Also an example to teams- be patient with young pitchers- his first full season with the Cubs in 1987- he won 6-lost 14 and had an ERA of 5.61. Early in 1988 he found himself- went 18-8 with a 3.18 ERA and was on his way to greatness. Both the Cubs and Braves have retired his #31. I’d take a Greg Maddux over a Nolan Ryan every day of the week.
There are guys who could throw hard and guys who knew how to pitch. Maddux was the latter. He didn’t have a whole lot of strikeouts: he pitched to contact and relied on the guys behind him to get the outs (and he was a better-than-average fielder himself). It was interesting here in Atlanta when you had Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz: Maddux and Glavine were more finesse, while Smoltz was the power and strikeouts guy. They just worked so well together…
That was some rotation- and Steve Avery had a few outstanding seasons- before his career went mysteriously south.
true! I remember Avery … for a year or so I thought he’d be as good as Maddux or Glavine.
Kent Mercker was an occasional contributor as well. He did something the Big 3 never did: he threw a no-hitter and part of another.
They had a rotating #5 guy but when you have 4 guys like that..
I agree with John, and second what you say… he was the best example in recent memory of taking average ability and turning it into the spectacular by using your head. Actually, I guess he had above-average ability , in finding his spots and pinpointing his pitches, but only average in his actual pitches. He’s a candidate for best pitcher in my lifetime, although there is plenty of competition from Carlton, Johnson, even the curmudgeonly and probably ‘roid-enhanced Clemens to name a few.
This guy could pitch…he was an artist like you said. I’ve never seen a guy out think the hitters like he did… and even go as far as setting up a hitter up in spring training for a pitch in the summer.
“I’d take a Greg Maddux over a Nolan Ryan every day of the week.”
Well, that’s an opinion and I suppose others would take their pitcher of choice over Nolan Ryan too. The aura of Ryan is that a batter was already completely intimidated and off timing and stride just waiting in the on deck circle before even entering the batters’ box or seeing the first pitch. It must have been like, “Aw hell. It’s Ryan. I’m dead.
If Ryan was pitching in one ballpark and you name the pitcher was in the other- about everyone would be there to see Ryan – anything could happen. You might see a No Hitter.