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 to be 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 not ever. On July 26, 2005, Maddux joined an even more exclusive club when he recorded his 3,000th strikeout. Although this feat has been accomplished by several other pitchers, Maddux is one of just two who have done so while allowing less than 1,000 walks. The only other pitcher who allowed so few walks with his many strikeouts is fellow (former) Cub Fergie Jenkins. 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 a streak as long as Maddux's. Cy Young is second-ever in this regard, with 15 straight 15-win seasons.
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...has a 3.22 ERA in 190.0 post season innings.
Maddux is also known as the best fielding pitcher in the game, having earned 15 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards. He won 13 straight from 1990 to 2003. Maddux is also an eight-time National League All-Star selection.
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 a blazing fastball like such contemporaries as Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson, Maddux relies on location rather than power, although he is capable of hitting the low nineties every once in awhile. 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, 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. His career ERA is 3.00, 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 "lively ball" 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.
In 2003, he earned a salary of $14,750,000. His contract 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. He has 318 career wins under his belt, and is very likely to surpass pitching great Nolan Ryan's 324 wins in the 2006 season. 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.
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 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 a good situational batter.) 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."
- Fifteenth among all time number of wins, Second among active pitchers (318 wins)
- Four time National League Cy Young Award winner (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995)
- Thirteenth in all time number of strikeouts, third among active pitchers (3052 SO's)
- 9-time All-Star (1988, 1992, 1994-1998, 2000)
- Second lowest career ERA among active pitchers (3.01 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 Most Valuable Player 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)
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