- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer
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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- From the moment Greg Maddux threw his final big league pitch in 2008, he was sure to be a welcome addition to someone's staff as a consultant, adviser or coach. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of pitching and a natural feel for his craft, so no detail escapes his notice. And those 355 wins and four Cy Young Awards guarantee that pitchers will be at rapt attention whenever he has information to share.
So it came as no surprise when the Chicago Cubs (the team that drafted Maddux) snatched him up as a special assistant prior to the 2010 season. And when Maddux was ready to leave the organization after the team fired general manager Jim Hendry last fall, several clubs were intrigued. The Texas Rangers could have wooed him with barbecue, Dallas Cowboys season tickets or a pep talk from club president Nolan Ryan, but they opted for something nearer and dearer to his heart: In the end, it all came down to brotherly love.
"Thirty teams would love to have him on a part-time basis,'' says Mike Maddux, Rangers pitching coach and Greg's brother. "But I kind of thought we were in a position of power for recruiting purposes. It was a no-brainer.''
After year of fielding an inept pitching staff that kept them in the cellar of the American League West, the Rangers have now won two straight pennants on the strength of an elite offense and effective pitching staff -- and they're still not satisfied. The club signed right-hander Yu Darvish out of Japan in January, locked up southpaw Derek Holland for five years and $28 million last week and are making a concerted effort to convert closer Neftali Feliz to a starter this spring.
At the center of it all you'll find Dave and Linda Maddux's two boys, trading pitching theories, spitballing ideas and having fun in a quintessentially American, backyard-pickup-game kind of way.
It's been a dream reunion for the Madduxes, who combine the intellect of the Coen brothers with the sophomoric humor of the Farrellys. Several years ago, when David Wells was describing Greg Maddux's understated flair for gross-out gags, he referred to Maddux as the "silent scumbag."