Ned Colletti talked to the media on the same day the Hall of Fame results came in, and mere minutes after the Dodgers General Manager spoke about one of his favorite players, Greg Maddux, the great right-hander was announced to be voted into the Hall of Fame. Ned Colletti reminded us about how he traded twice for Maddux bringing the four-time Cy Young Award winner to Los Angeles both times.
“One of my all-time favorites,” Colletti said of Maddux. “One of the best I’ve ever been around.”
Although Maddux didn’t pitch for the Dodger during those glory years when he was with Chicago and Atlanta, we still were graced with his outstanding pitching for two short stints.
Greg Maddux was truly one of the greatest pitchers of my generation. I remember him dominating with the Braves for a long time. The Tomahawk Chop was in full effect back then. Later on during his epic 23-year Major League career, Maddux would be on our team instead of pitching for the enemy. Cesar Izturis, one of my favorite little infielders, was traded to Chicago at the trade deadline in 2006 in exchange for Maddux. Mad Dog started 12 games for the Dodgers in ’06. During his first start with the Dodgers, he pitched six no-hit innings but was halted due to a rain delay. His second start with the Dodgers was only a eight-inning shutout. On September 30th, the Dodgers clinched a postseason spot as Maddux allowed 2 runs on 3 hits over 7 innings in a win over the Giants. He went 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA over 73 2/3 innings pitched wearing Blue helping the Dodgers reach the National League Division Series. Unfortunately the Dodgers would go on to be swept by the Mets in the NLDS. Maddux pitched the third game, a no-decision.
Maddux became a free agent after the 2006 season, and he signed with the San Diego Padres. The Padres traded Maddux back to the
Dodgers in August 2008 in return for minor leaguers Eduardo Perez and Michael Watt- both of which never made the Majors. Maddux finished off his career with the Dodgers, and he started his final 7 games with L.A. going 2-4 with a 5.09 ERA during that final stint. His first game back in Blue was not pretty. Unlike his first debut back in 2006, Maddux allowed 7 runs on 9 hits in a loss to the Phillies. Maddux pitched in three games in the playoffs for the Dodgers, but in relief. He finished off his career in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series versus the Philadelphia Phillies. The Dodgers lost 5-1. Maddux left the field. Not only was he eliminated with the Dodgers from the postseason, but he was stepping off the mound for the final time as an active player.
Maddux was a master of his craft, and while he didn’t throw a ferocious fastball, he could mix and match pitch selections like no other. He devised custom plans for each hitter in the lineup. He believed that movement and location were more important than velocity, a theory taught to him by his trainer and former MLB scout Ralph Meder.
Greg Maddux led all the Hall of Fame candidates with 555 votes from 571 BBWAA ballots good for 97.2% of the vote. Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas round out the class of three being inducted for this year.
Greg Maddux won 355 career games with a 3.16 ERA over 5,008 1/3 innings pitched. He received 18 Gold Glove Awards, and he picked up his final one after the 2008 postseason with the Dodgers.
Maddux was marvelous, and his induction to the Hall of Fame was well deserved and should have been an unanimous decision in my opinion. Maddux was durable, smart, dedicated, mechanically consistent, accurate, and a superior fielding pitcher.
Even though the time Maddux pitched for the Dodgers was brief and it was when he was no longer in his prime, he was still effective and enjoyable to watch play. He won’t be inducted into the Hall of Fame in a Dodger uniform, but I’d like to think that most Dodger fans feel that he was one of the great ones to don the uniform.