Greg Maddux was voted into the Hall of Fame Wednesday by the BBWAA as part of three-member 2014 class, including longtime teammate Tom Glavine and 1B/DH Frank Thomas.
Maddux won 355 games in 23 seasons as a member of four teams, primarily the Cubs and Braves. He won four Cy Young awards, and perhaps most importantly to his teams, pitched at least 190 innings 21 of his 23 years.
The righthander succeeded with precision control, especially as his velocity faded, and was the best-fielding pitcher at least since Jim Kaat, if not of all time. Maddux won every National League Gold Glove from 1991-2008, save for 2003. His 18 Gold Gloves broke the record of 16 shared by Kaat and Brooks Robinson for the most at any position. There are only 31 players in history with a WAR of 100 or more. Maddux is 26th at 106.8.
Even if you want to look past his 355 wins as a product of some good Braves teams—which of course were so good in part because Maddux was their ace—take a look at his other numbers. He kept his walks to a minimum (1.8 per 9) and home runs were a rarity (0.6/9). His career WHIP was 1.143 and his ERA+ was 132. He led the league in ERA+ four times and twice topped 200, with the league average at 100.
See also: The Scouting of Greg Maddux
See also: Maddux’s 1985 scouting report
See also: Maddux’s 1986 scouting report
He won four consecutive Cy Young awards and finished in the top five five other times.
During his prime—age 26 to 32—he had an average WHIP below 1.00, an ERA that did not top 2.72 and his BB/K ratio hit 8.85 in 1997.
Maddux was a second-round pick of the Cubs in 1984, after players such as Jeff Pries (Yankees), Dennis Livingston (Dodgers), Thomas Hartley (White Sox), Lorenzo Sisney (Mets) and Mike Christ (Mariners).
He wasn’t the Cubs’ first pick, as Chicago went for Morehead State lefty Drew Hall. His future success wasn’t immediately apparent. In the Appalachian League in 1984, he was 6-2, 2.63 but his trademark control wasn’t yet a part of his arsenal as he walked 4.3/9. In fact, while his control improved, his career minor league BB/K ratio was just 2.07.
He first popped on to Baseball America’s radar late in 1986 as he was chosen for the Triple-A American Association’s top 10. He was No. 6, behind Ruben Sierra, Barry Larkin, Dave Martinez, Daryl Boston and Joe Magrane.
Here’s what George Rorrer wrote:
At age 20, the wiry 6-foot, 150-pound Las Vegas native came up early in the season and pitched brilliantly. In mid-August, Maddux had an 8-1 record that could easily have been 11-1. He departed from three of his August starts with comfortable leads only to watch the Iowa bullpen let them get away. Said Iowa manager Larry Cox: “He changes speeds well. He has a good fastball and a good curve, but the best thing he’s got going for him is his competitiveness.”
|Major League Totals||355||227||3.16||744||740||109||5008.1||4726||353||999||3371||1.80||6.06||1.14|
|Minor League Totals||36||15||2.86||71||69||19||491.1||432||16||150||309||2.75||5.66||1.18|