Greg Maddux

From Academic Kids

Gregory Alan Maddux (born April 14, 1966 in San Angelo, Texas, USA) is a right-handed baseball pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. He is generally thought of as being one of the greatest pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball. He is one of only 22 pitchers in Major League history to notch 300 career wins, a feat that is much more difficult to achieve now compared to the past due the increased use of relief pitching, which has reduced the number of decisions for starting pitchers. He also 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 ever. Maddux has only won 20 games 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.

Greg was drafted in the second round of the 1984 amateur draft by the Cubs, making his Major League debut in September 1986 after some time in the minor leagues. At the time, he was the youngest player in the majors. After spending seven seasons in Chicago, Maddux signed with the Atlanta Braves in 1993 as a free agent, and starred for the team through 2003. In his time with the Braves, he pitched in four World Series, his team winning one in 1995. He returned to the Cubs as a free agent prior to the 2004 season.

He was the first Major Leaguer to earn over $100,000,000 in salary in a career.

During his brief 1986 call-up, 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 such a streak.

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 12 straight division titles while he was pitching for them.

Maddux is a right-handed pitcher known for his pinpoint accuracy and his ability to psyche out hitters. 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 described Maddux's control this way: "Greg Maddux could put a baseball through a Life Saver."

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, which compared even more favorably to the NL in that year (4.26), but had a 16-6 record. His career ERA is 2.95, second only to Pedro Martinez 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 "lively ball" in 1920, there have only been 5 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.

Maddux has won at least 15 games in every season from 1988 to 2004, a 17-year record for consistency that remains active for 2005. Cy Young is second-ever in this regard, with 15 straight 15-win seasons.

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. Thanks in part to his consistency, the Atlanta Braves won the NL East division in each of Maddux's 11 years with the team.

Maddux also won four straight Cy Young Awards from 1992 to 1995, a feat matched only by Randy Johnson.

In 2003, he earned a salary of $14,750,000. His new deal with the Cubs will pay him $8 million in 2004 and includes $8 million per year clauses that automatically go into effect for 2005 and 2006 if he pitches 200 or more innings in those years.

On August 7, 2004, Maddux defeated the San Francisco Giants, 8-4, to garner his 300th career victory.

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

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 insists that the Cubs wear their white home jersey on the days that he is their starting pitcher. He also prefers to be called a baseball player, not merely a pitcher. (He is a perennial Gold Glove winner and an excellent batsman.) The American League may contain players who have been reduced to "pitchers", but Maddux has played his entire career in the National League and prefers the title "baseball player."


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