|Greg Maddux Biography||
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, 1986 in baseball
, 1966, in San Angelo, Texas, United States) is a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. He is, arguably, one of the greatest pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball, and is one of only nine pitchers in Major League Baseball history to achieve 300 win club and 3000 strikeout club. He won more games during the 1990s than any other pitcher.
Winning 300 games is a feat that is much more difficult to achieve now compared to the past due to the increased use of relief pitching, which has reduced the number of decisions for starting pitchers. In addition, Maddux has 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 win club for decades, if not ever, although the recent return to form by his former Atlanta Braves teammate Tom Glavine has once again made Glavine a strong candidate for 300 wins. On July 26, 2005 in baseball, Maddux joined an even more exclusive club when he recorded his 3,000th strikeout, a feat generally accomplished by power pitchers, not a finesse pitcher like Maddux. Although this feat has been accomplished by several other pitchers, Maddux is one of just three who have done so while allowing fewer than 1,000 base on balls. The two other pitchers who allowed so few walks with as many strikeouts are Ferguson Jenkins and Curt Schilling. Maddux has won 20 games only twice, in 1992 in baseball and 1993 in baseball (although interrupted seasons in 1994 in baseball and 1995 in baseball, when Maddux won 16 and 19 games respectively, likely cost him more). Maddux has won 19 games five times, and 18 games twice.
Maddux was drafted in the second round of the 1984 in baseball amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs, making his Major League debut in September 1986 in baseball after some time in the minor leagues. Oddly, his first appearance in a major league game was as a pinch runner. At the time, he was the youngest player in the majors. In 1986, Maddux defeated his older brother, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mike Maddux, marking the first time rookie brothers had ever pitched against each other. In 1987 in baseball, his first full season in the Majors, Maddux finished with a disappointing 6-14 record and 5.61 earned run average. In 1988 in baseball, 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 ranks second with 15 straight 15-win seasons. In 2006, Maddux again won fifteen games for a total of 18 seasons with 15 or more wins. Maddux established himself as the Cubs' ace in 1989 in baseball, winning 19 games, including a September game at Montreal, Quebec Olympic Stadium (Montreal) that clinched the Cubs' second National League Eastern Division championship. Manager Don Zimmer tabbed him to start Game 1 of the 1989 NLCS against the San Francisco Giants. It was a rough postseason debut for Maddux, as he was chased in the fourth inning, the lethal blow being Will Clark's grand slam home run with 2 outs in the fourth. Maddux felt that just before the grand slam, Clark was able to read Maddux's lips during a conference at the mound between Maddux and Zimmer, discerning how he was going to be pitched. Since that incident, Maddux always covers his mouth with his glove during conversations on the mound in an effort to not repeat that mistake. After strong 1990 and 1991 seasons, Maddux came into his own in 1992, winning 20 games and his first National League Cy Young Award. During the 1992 season, negotiations between him and the Cubs became contentious and eventually broke off. Cubs' general manager Larry Himes claimed that Maddux and his agent, Scott Boras, made unreasonable demands, but Maddux and Boras insist that Himes and Tribune Company executive Jim Dowdle failed to work in good faith with them. After the 1992 season, Maddux filed for free agency and the Cubs decided to pursue other free agents, including Jose Guzman, Dan Plesac and Candy Maldonado. After seven seasons in Chicago, Maddux signed with the Atlanta Braves. Maddux made his Braves' debut as Opening Day Starter against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, and beat his old teammates 1-0, the losing pitcher being Maddux's good friend Mike Morgan. Maddux went on to star for the team through 2003 in baseball. In his time with the Braves, he pitched in three World Series, his team winning one in 1995 World Series. He returned to the Cubs as a free agent prior to the 2004 in baseball season. Maddux's second stint with the Cubs lasted until mid-season 2006, when for the first time in his career, he was traded, sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Cesar Izturis on July 31, 2006. Although the trade surprised many, Maddux chose not to use his "no trade" contract clause and accepted the trade. September 30, 2006, Maddux pitched seven innings in San Francisco, allowing two runs and three hits in a 4-2 victory over the Giants, clinching a playoff spot for the Dodgers along with another 15 win season.
The Braves Years
Maddux's tenure with the Braves allowed him to pitch alongside Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. The Atlanta Braves 1990's pitching rotation formed the core of one of the best pitching staffs in the history of the game, and were indispensable in the Braves’ ten straight division titles during Maddux's Braves tenure (1993-2003, with the exception of the strike year of 1994). Maddux has pitched in 11 Division Series contests, 15 League Championship games and five World Series games, and has a 3.22 ERA in 190.0 post-season innings. Maddux is also known as the best-fielding active pitcher in the game, having earned 16 Gold Glove Awards, tied with Jim Kaat and Brooks Robinson for the all-time record of the most Gold Gloves by a single player. Maddux won 13 straight Gold Gloves from 1990 to 2003. Maddux has been elected to the National League All-Star team eight times.
Maddux is a right-handed pitcher known for his pinpoint accuracy and his ability to psyche out hitters. While the speed of his pitches has decreased with time, and never truly having had a blazing fastball like such contemporaries as Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson, Maddux relies on location rather than power, having lost his already modest velocity over the years. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum 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 once said that "Greg Maddux could put a baseball through a Life Saver." Maddux was also remarkable for the late movement on his pitches, which, combined with his superb command, made him one of the most effective groundball pitchers in history; hitters were often unable to make solid contact with his pitches.
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. He finished with a 2.20 ERA in 1997 and would have likely won the Cy Young Award that season had Pedro Martinez (to whom Maddux finished 2nd in the voting that yearhttp://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCI/is_11_63/ai_n6332592) not had an even more spectacular season. In 1998, Maddux carried a cumulative 1.65 ERA through late August, but a late-season slump caused his ERA to rise to 2.22. He still ended up with the lowest ERA in the National League, struck out over 200 batters for the only time in his career, and won 18 games. His career ERA is 3.07, behind only Pedro Martínez and Roy Oswalt 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 live-ball era 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: Maddux added his 16th Gold Glove award in 2006 in baseball, tying him with fellow pitcher Jim Kaat for the most Gold Glove awards in a career. He has a shot of becoming the sole record holder if his consistantly strong defense carries into 2007 in baseball and he wins a 17th Gold Glove. Maddux also won four straight Cy Young Awards from 1992 to 1995, a feat matched only by Randy Johnson. He has finished as high as third in MVP voting, and has been in the top ten several times. During the time Maddux won his consecutive Cy Young awards, many joked that it should be renamed the "Greg Maddux Award," since no one else had ever won three in a row and only Steve Carlton had won four awards overall at that time. On April 28th, 2006, Maddux began his 21st season by winning each of his first five starts. This marked the third time winning five games in a month for Maddux, and the first time in his career that he had ever started a season off 5-0. He ended the season by winning his 15th game on September 30, completing his 18th 15-win season, tying the record set by Cy Young. Some have criticized Maddux for his under .500 postseason winning percentage. However, this is largely a result of his teams having the weaker offenses than opposing teams, and Maddux has actually been an excellent postseason pitcher. He has produced a very strong 3.34 postseason ERA, including an outstanding 2.09 ERA in his 38.67 World Series innings.
On August 7, 2004 in baseball, Maddux defeated the San Francisco Giants, 8-4, to garner his 300th career victory. On August 30, 2006, he got his 330th career win, passing Steve Carlton to take sole possession of 10th on the all-time list. On July 26, 2005 in baseball, 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. He is also one of only three pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks. In 2003 in baseball, he earned a salary of $14,750,000. His current contract pays him an average of $8,000,000 a year for the 2004-2006 seasons. Maddux was the first List of highest paid baseball players over $100,000,000 in total salary in a career. 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 lives 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 insisted that the Cubs wear their white home jersey or grey away jersey (as opposed to the team's blue "alternate" jersey) on the days that he was their starting pitcher. He also prefers to be called a baseball player, not merely a pitcher; he is a perennial Gold Glove winner and has a reputation as an effective situational batter. Beginning in 1988, Maddux won 15 or more games for a record 17 straight seasons. This eclipsed the previous mark set by Cy Young who recorded 15 straight seasons with 15 or more victories. Maddux has also reached at least 13 wins in 19 consecutive seasons, tying Cy Young for that record. Maddux is known for his sense of humor and keen wit. Upon walking into the Braves clubhouse at during spring training for the 2003 season, Maddux saw doughnuts bought from a local grocery store and said "Where's the Krispy Kreme? How do they expect us to play like champions if they don't feed us like champions?"
Courtesy of: http://www.wikipedia.org/