HOF Profile: Greg Maddux

greg_madduxThe MLB is a constant battle between pitchers and batters or offence and defence and the players who can tip the scales in that battle are few and far between. The teams are always looking to find those players with the additions of only a few meaning the difference between sitting out of the playoffs and winning the World Series. That is especially true for pitchers as teams look for a number of pitchers to help create a great rotation. To do this the MLB teams look for a mixture of styles and there are many to choose from when speaking of pitchers. There are the power arms who throw so hard that they can simply blow a pitch by a batter. There are the junk pitchers who use deception rather than speed to fool the batters and make them swing at a ball that seems to disappear. Then there are pitchers like Greg Maddux who never had the power or the junk pitches to get batters. Instead these pitchers would use decent pitches with great location to get batters out. These pitchers would put the ball where it just simply could not be hit and batters would swing away unable to get wood on the ball. These pitchers are generally some of the best and longest lasting pitchers in the MLB. They don’t rely on a big arm that goes away with age and can be taken away at any moment due to bad mechanics. They also don’t rely on gimmick pitchers that can be figured out if they spend long enough in the league. The in between pitchers rely on an arm strong enough arm to throw hard but not to the point where they play on the edge of hurting themselves. They use a good variety of pitches that keep batters guessing rather than relying on one out pitch. Their power is in where they put the ball and when looking at that skill it is easier to last longer as long as the location stays. The best of these pitchers keep that ability for long stretches and can be some of the most impossible pitchers to hit. That is the type of pitcher that Greg Maddux was and he would prove that these type of pitchers can have a long and successful career as he was one of the most dominant pitchers in one of the toughest times for the men on the mound.

Greg Maddux has decided that he will not wear a logo on his plaque as he enters the Hall of Fame and that has everything to do with the two teams to reap the biggest rewards from the control specialist. After a successful high school career Maddux would be taken in the second round by the Chicago Cubs. It was in the Cubs organization where Maddux developed what made him great but he would not get there with no struggles. After a great two seasons in the minor leagues Maddux would make his MLB debut in 1987 as a 21-year-old. His rookie season in the league was a struggle as he went 6-14 with a 5.61 ERA in what seemed like a case of a young pitcher being called up too soon. Then he would figure things out for his sophomore season and essentially every season from then on. Using a number of pitches but relying on his fastball and change-up and the location he could place these pitches in Maddux would become one of the most dominant pitchers of the era. After his rookie season Maddux would roll to more winning records and eventually would go 17 seasons with at least 15 wins, a major league record. In 1992 Maddux would leave the Cubs after his first Cy Young award cashing in on his free agency opportunity to sign with the Atlanta Braves. He would continue to win awards with the Braves earning another three Cy Young awards for a record 4 Cy Young Awards, an accomplishment only matched by Randy Johnson. As a member of the Braves he would be a part of one of the most dominant pitching rotations in the MLB alongside Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. With a long career Maddux would solidify his spot among the best of the best and for the king of control his legend will be solidified in the Hall of Fame.


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