|Three Hundred and Counting|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on August 10, 2004
Er, no. 6-0, 185 is big, but not for a major league player.
Check out the radar gun blazing fastball.
Not quite with 88 mile-per-hour heat.
Then he’s gotta have a knee-buckling curveball or an awe-inspiring slider.
Um, you needn’t worry Barry Zito or Ryan Wagner, no threats here.
Why the heck is this guy so great?!
Well, two fellow Cubs have some input for the answer to that question.
“I think he's as prepared and studious as anybody I've ever been around,” says Cubs manager Dusty Baker, who has been around the likes of many baseball greats.
“He knows how to pitch regardless of what he has on that given day,” adds Cubs reliever Mike Remlinger. “It's phenomenal to me, the mental process that he has.”
Greg Maddux is perhaps one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Whenever he comes to the mound, he has a game plan already in mind, and 100 percent of the time it’s the correct thinking for that situation. On the rare occasion that his location is off, he uses his bulldog persona (his nickname is Mad Dog) to execute to the best of his abilities.
“You have to understand what you can and can't do with the baseball and not let your ego or emotions or anything else get in the way of your pitch selection and how you throw a pitch,” Maddux says.
And this approach must work halfway decently. I mean, Maddux -- a noted groundball artist -- has 300 wins, a career 2.93 ERA, four Cy Young awards, and more career strikeouts than Red Sox ace Curt Schilling.
Greg is also probably one of the most respected guys in all of baseball. Cy Young award winners Tom Glavine and Roger Clemens had nothing but praise to heap upon Maddux.
“It's obviously great what he did. It's well-deserved,” said Clemens, who has recorded his 300th win. “I'm sure it was special for him, I know it was for me. He really knows how to pitch. I mean, the things he does consistently are the things we all try to do: change speeds and hit your spots. We'd all like to do those things and try to do them, but there aren't many who have been consistently successful like he's been.”
“I'm very proud of him,” said Tom Glavine, a former teammate of Maddux’s, who is next up for the 300 mark with 259 wins. “And I'm proud I had the opportunity to play with him. He was the epitome of consistency over his career. He's done a wonderful job to get to the point he's at.”
“Those who know him will probably show much more excitement and emotion over it than he will. At some point, though, he'll break down and let everyone know what his career has meant to him. But I don't anticipate it at 300.”
Congratulations, Mr. Maddux. It was a complete honor to have seen you pitch with the Atlanta Braves and being able to see one of the greatest of all time on the mound.
(Author’s Note: Isn’t it odd that Maddux won his 200th and 300th games both against the Giants? The only other person to win his 300th in a Cubs uniform was Grover Cleveland Alexander and he got his 200th and 300th wins against…the Giants. The score of Maddux’s 200th and 300th wins? 8-4, both times. You can look it up.