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Greg Maddux: A Hall of Fame tribute

7/25/2014 - MLB
Illustration by Dave Merrell

A Ph.D. IN PITCHING

Pitching in an era of growing PED use and muscle-bound giants, Greg Maddux showed fans you could be great even if you looked like a junior high social studies teacher (especially when he wore his glasses). And now that we are in an era when pitchers increasingly throw in the mid-90s or higher, he also was proof that you could be great with fastballs in the 80s when you combined them with intelligence, other good pitches and impeccable command.

Maddux won 355 games -- the most of anyone over roughly the past half-century. He had a career ERA of 3.16, struck out 3,371 batters, won four consecutive National League Cy Young Awards and helped Atlanta to its only World Series championship (alas, he could not help the Cubs end their World Series drought). How dominant was Maddux? From 1992-95, he averaged 19 wins a season with a 1.98 ERA. And get this -- though he pitched 23 seasons, he spent only 15 days on the disabled list. Two weeks out of almost a quarter century.

Hmmm. Maybe all those pitchers who are tearing tendons and overstressing arms by throwing so hard these days could learn a lesson from the way Maddux pitched.

-- Jim Caple


HALL OF FAME GALLERY

See more photos of Greg Maddux and the other five members of the 2014 class. Launch gallery »

FACTS AND STATS

• BORN: April 14, 1966
• FROM: Las Vegas, Nevada
• TWITTER: @gregmaddux
• POSITION: Right-handed pitcher
• SEASONS: 23 (1986-2008)
• TEAMS: Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres
• RECORD: 355-277
• ERA: 3.16
• CAREER WAR: 104.6

HONORS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

•  Ranks in Top 10 all-time in wins and strikeouts
•  4-time Cy Young Award winner (1992-1995)
•  8-time All-Star
•  18-time Gold Glove winner (most all time)
•  4-time NL ERA leader; 3-time NL wins leader
•  Won World Series with 1995 Braves


SOCIAL



QUOTES

"He's like a meticulous surgeon out there ... he puts the ball where he wants to. You see a pitch inside and wonder, 'Is it the fastball or the cutter?' That's where he's got you."
--Tony Gwynn

"Every pitch has a purpose. Sometimes he knows what he's going to throw two pitches ahead. I swear, he makes it look like guys are swinging foam bats against him."
--John Smoltz

"Greg Maddux could put a baseball through a Life Saver if you asked him."
--Joe Morgan

"I could probably throw harder if I wanted, but why? When they're in a jam, a lot of pitchers ... try to throw harder. Me, I try to locate better."
--Greg Maddux