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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Basic Biittner : Control, Consistency and Class

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Greg Maddux announced his retirement from Major League Baseball recently, after a very successful 23-year career, spent entirely in the National League. Since I recently vowed that I would never refer to anyone as a "future Hall of Famer" again, I won't do so. But ...

Here are just some of the stats and awards that Maddux leaves behind:

He was an 8-time selection for the All Star Game; won four CONSECUTIVE Cy Young Awards (1992-1995) and finished among the top 5 vote getters in five other seasons; won an amazing 18 consecutive National League Gold Gloves for fielding his position (1990-2008); finished in the Top 15 vote getters in the MVP race six times; led the league in ERA four times and was in the Top 3 in four other seasons; won 20 games twice,19 in five other seasons and 15 or more for a record 18 consecutive seasons (1988-2006); led the league in fewest walks/9 innings nine times between 1995 and 2008; led the league in innings pitched five consecutive years (1991-1995); in Games Started seven times; Complete Games three times; and he was the youngest player in the league in 1986 (age 20) and the oldest in the league last season (42).

Extremely admirable statistics, and quite a legacy.

Greg Maddux' final career line reads: 355 (regular season) wins (8th highest all-time) against 227 losses (.610 winning percentage), 5008.3 innings pitched (13th highest all-time) ; 740 Games Started (4th highest all time); a career average of just 1.80 bases on balls allowed per 9 innings pitched; and 3371 strikeouts ( 10th highest all-time). One thing I haven't mentioned is that Maddux, because he never played in the American League, had to bat for himself for 23 years and was a very well-respected batsman as well.

What's even more amazing to me, though - especially in this age of headline-grabbing, law-breaking, steroid-using superstars - is that Greg Maddux, despite his nickname of "Mad Dog" and his residence in Las Vegas, aka "Sin City," has never been in trouble with the law or had any other negative publicity. He often wears horn-rimmed glasses in the dugout and looks like a college professor. His scholarly approach to the game and his mentoring of younger pitchers adds to the image as well.

Control, consistency and class - that was Greg Maddux.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner