星期一, 12月 08, 2008

Maddux to retire..

Maddux to announce retirement Monday

12/05/08 7:33 PM EST

Maddux to announce retirement Monday
Four-time Cy Young ending career ranked eighth with 355 wins
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com

His best pitch was a well-located fastball. He didn't try to overpower hitters, just confuse them. And batters everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief.
Four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux is retiring. The slender right-hander, who lives in Las Vegas during the offseason, was expected to make it official Monday during a news conference at 11:30 a.m. PT at the Bellagio, where the Winter Meetings are being held.

Then, he'll probably go play 18 holes.

Maddux, who turns 43 in April, ranks eighth on the career wins list with 355, one more than Roger Clemens. News outlets confirmed Maddux's announcement through his agent's office. In November, agent Scott Boras told reporters that Maddux was "doubtful" for 2009, adding, "As it stands now, he is not going to play."

He was known for his control, not 99-mph fastballs. It's a lost art. In his 23-year career, Maddux has compiled a 355-227 record with 3.16 ERA and finished with 109 complete games.

He will walk away having issued 999 walks and striking out 3,371. Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins, Curt Schilling, John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez are the only other pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts and less than 1,000 walks, but Maddux is the only one of that group with 300 wins.

"I try to do two things: locate my fastball and change speeds. That's it," Maddux said at one point in his career. "I try to keep it as simple as possible. I just throw my fastball [to] both sides of the plate and change speed every now and then. There's no special food or anything like that. I just try to make quality pitches and try to be prepared each time I go out there."

On Sept. 14 at Colorado, Maddux held the Rockies to two hits over seven scoreless innings, striking out three. It was vintage Maddux.

"The guy was remarkable," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

Hall of Famer Joe Morgan once said: "Greg Maddux could put a baseball through a life saver if you asked him."

Maddux began his career in 1986 with the Chicago Cubs, making his Major League debut in September as a pinch-runner. He left the Cubs after the 1992 season, when he won his first National League Cy Young Award, going 20-11 with a 2.18 ERA. Maddux then signed with the Atlanta Braves, joining John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, and had an incredible run, winning at least 18 games in six of his next 11 seasons.

Maddux won the Cy Young again in 1993 (20-10, 2.36 ERA), '94 (16-6, 1.56 ERA) and '95 (19-2, 1.63 ERA). This past season, he picked up his 18th Gold Glove, and has won the NL defensive honors every year since '90 with the exception of the 2003 season, when Mike Hampton took the award.

Maddux began this season with the San Diego Padres and was dealt to the Dodgers on Aug. 19. He was a combined 8-13 with the two teams, and the Dodgers used him out of the bullpen in the postseason. Los Angeles general manager Ned Colletti had left open the possibility of Maddux returning for '09.

"I told Scott we'd love to have him back, and we're not going to be closing the door on Greg Maddux anytime soon," Colletti said last month. "I've known him for a long, long time. I respect who he is and admire him for what he's done. I know the impact he has on a club and on a franchise."

Back in August 2005, Maddux notched a complete-game victory over the St. Louis Cardinals during the right-hander's second turn with the Cubs from 2004-06.

"He doesn't throw as hard as he used to throw when he started his career, but he's finding a way to get some guys out in front," Albert Pujols said at the time, noting the approach Maddux has used throughout his career. "He makes a good pitch to get out of a jam. That's the only way you can do it. ... That guy is smart, and that's why he's a future Hall of Famer."

Nicknamed the Professor, Maddux learned early that he wouldn't be effective trying to throw hard. He had to be smart, and often dazzled teammates in the dugout by calling an opponent's pitches during a game.

"He's something else," said Cincinnati pitching coach Dick Pole, who saw Maddux's first win with the Cubs and also his 300th on Aug. 7, 2004. "They broke that mold. He hasn't done it with power, he hasn't done it with anything except pitching, finesse pitching."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Everything Maddux wasn't
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Everything Maddux wasn't

By Gene Wojciechowski

Am I going to miss Greg Maddux? Are you kidding? I couldn't stand the guy.

First of all, he wasn't greedy enough. He signed for only $75,000 after the Chicago Cubs selected him with the 31st pick of the 1984 amateur draft. No messy holdouts. No nothing. And get this: He actually reported to Pikeville of the Appalachian League that season. For $175 a week. Loser.

He wasn't brash enough. The guy made his major league starting debut near the end of the 1986 season. The Cubs stunk, but the 20-year-old Maddux threw a complete-game victory. Hadn't been done by a Cub that young since 1966. He also got two hits and ended a seven-game Cubs losing streak. Instead of popping off about his big day, Maddux told reporters, "I'm kind of awestruck now."

Maddux was the complete pitcher. In addition to his 355 wins and four Cy Youngs, he won 18 Gold Gloves.
He wasn't intimidating enough. When the dinky Maddux first reported from Triple-A Iowa, the Cubs didn't know whether he was a player or there for Father-Son Day. "He's a good competitor and he's fun to watch," minor league coach Jim Colborn told the Chicago Tribune, "especially knowing he's just finished his paper route a couple of years ago."

He wasn't quotable enough. You can list the number of great Maddux on-the-record quotes on the back of a Sweet'N Low packet. He was polite. He was pleasant. But mostly he shrugged his shoulders a lot.

He wasn't controversial enough. Would it have killed him to get caught carrying, say, a semi-automatic weapon, just once? Some sort of drug charge would have been nice. And is it asking too much to maybe oversee a money-laundering ring? But, no, not Maddux.

He wasn't narcissistic enough. Even when he was winning four Cy Young Awards in a row or walking into the clubhouse the day after his 300th career victory, you never saw Maddux with a posse, entourage or security detail. Wait! There were those times when he brought his two kids to the ballpark.

He wasn't ill-prepared enough. In 1996, just before Maddux and the Atlanta Braves faced the New York Yankees in the World Series, pitching coach Leo Mazzone met with his starters and relievers and read them the detailed scouting reports. Maddux raised his hand after Mazzone read the report on Yankees slugger Bernie Williams.

"That report is not correct," Maddux said. "I've been watching film of Williams for two weeks, and that report is not correct."

"Did everybody hear that?" Mazzone said.

The Braves pitchers nodded.

"Well, then the hell with this report," Mazzone said. "We go with what Mad Dog says."

Williams hit .167 in the Series.

He wasn't serious enough. Jimmy Farrell, who was the longtime umpires room attendant at Wrigley Field, told me about the time he asked a young Maddux to wiggle his ear if he reached base on a hit. The Cubs went on the road, so Farrell and his wife, Eleanor, watched the game at home that night. Sure enough, Maddux got a hit.

"He's not gonna do it, Jimmy," Eleanor said.

"You watch," Farrell said.

Maddux stood at first base. And then wiggled his ear.

"We just about fell off the couch laughing," Farrell told me.

He wasn't aloof enough. You'd think a guy with more wins than any living player (355) would keep to himself. But when I saw him this past March at spring training with the San Diego Padres, Maddux was doing his usual thing: working the clubhouse, cracking wise with vets and rookies, recruiting players for one of his golf pools. Same sort of thing happened when I saw him near the end of the season. He was a Los Angeles Dodger by then, but he was sitting in the dugout trading jokes with teammate Derek Lowe.

He wasn't one-dimensional enough. After a while you really got tired of watching him earn Gold Gloves (18 of them -- nobody has more), lay down perfect sacrifice bunts, or even steal bases. The nerve.

He didn't listen well enough. Colborn said back in 1986: "He's not a strikeout pitcher, and he probably won't ever win 25 or 30 games in the big leagues. But he should have a good big-league career." Maddux, who just had to make Colborn look bad, finished his career ranked 10th all-time in strikeouts.

He wasn't buff enough. Didn't he get the memo about steroids? Sammy Sosa had nose hairs with more muscle tone than Maddux. Maddux had a bit of a paunch. I'm not sure he could bench press a fungo bat.

He wasn't flashy enough. After Maddux won No. 300, reporters asked how he'd celebrate. "I don't know," he said. "I'll do something." What, take the family to Pizza Hut?

He wasn't into legacies enough. He once said he actually valued pitching 200-plus innings per season more than the wins. And if you asked him about the Hall of Fame, you usually wouldn't get much on the subject. But his former teammate Glendon Rusch once told me, "In my opinion, he's a first-ballot, 100-percent-of-the-votes Hall of Famer."

He wasn't unprofessional enough. Maddux probably could have squeezed another season and paycheck out of that 42-year-old right arm of his. Others would have taken the money. But not Mr. Integrity.

Nope. Won't miss him at all.

Until spring training 2009.

Gene Wojciechowski is a senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at gene.wojciechowski@espn3.com.

Maddux to retire with 355 wins

Friday, December 5, 2008
Updated: December 6, 4:07 PM ET
Maddux to retire with 355 wins

Associated Press

Greg Maddux has thrown his last pitch.

The four-time Cy Young winner will announce his retirement Monday at the baseball winter meetings, near his home in Las Vegas.

Maddux, who turns 43 in April, ranks eighth on the career wins list with 355. He went 8-13 with a 4.22 ERA last season with the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Maddux made three relief appearances in the playoffs for the Dodgers this year -- he had an 0.00 ERA over four innings -- and then filed for free agency amid speculation he would retire.

On Friday, confirmation came from the office of Maddux's agent, Scott Boras. Maddux, his family and Boras will hold a news conference at the hotel where the meetings are being held to announce one of baseball's greatest pitchers is finished.

Last month, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti left open the possibility that Maddux would return for a 24th season in the majors.

"I told Scott we'd love to have him back, and we're not going to be closing the door on Greg Maddux anytime soon," Colletti said at the time. "I've known him for a long, long time. I respect who he is and admire him for what he's done. I know the impact he has on a club and on a franchise." Maddux finished one win ahead of Roger Clemens on the career victory list. Overall, "Mad Dog" was 355-227 with a 3.16 ERA, and is considered a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible after five years.

Noted for impeccable control, Maddux won Cy Young Awards from 1992-95 and earned a record 18 Gold Gloves while with the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta, Dodgers and Padres.

Maddux was an eight-time All-Star and won at least 13 games in 20 straight seasons, a streak that ended this year.

The last-place Padres traded Maddux to the Dodgers on Aug. 19 for two minor leaguers to be named or cash, and went 2-4 in seven starts for Los Angeles. His last start for the NL West champions was a gem -- he beat San Francisco, giving up one run and two hits in six innings.

"He's remarkable," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said after the 2-1 victory. "I've watched and admired him from across the field. Tonight was, you could say, vintage."

Said Maddux following the win: "In all honesty, I have felt this game has given me more than I ever thought it would in the first place. I just wanted to have a good game. I haven't had many since I got here."

While Maddux finished on the West Coast, he will always be associated with top teams in Atlanta. Along with fellow 300-game winner Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, Maddux helped the Braves win division titles for more than a decade, and they won their lone World Series championship there in 1995.

Glavine and Smoltz are both in their 40s and coming off arm operations, and their futures are in doubt. Longtime teammates on the field and golfing buddies away from the field, there has long been talk that Atlanta's Big Three might someday be reunited -- with election to the Hall on the very same day.

Maddux made his major league debut in September 1986 with the Cubs. As a pinch-runner, in fact. He wound up losing that game in relief.

His brother, Mike, started his big league career three months earlier as a pitcher for Philadelphia. He recently was hired as Texas' pitching coach.

It took Greg Maddux 23 seasons to rack up four Cy Young Awards, eight All-Star appearances, 18 Gold Gloves, one World Series ring and perhaps his most impressive accomplishment, 355 wins:

Most Career Wins,
MLB History 1. Cy Young 511
2. Walter Johnson 417
T-3. Pete Alexander 373
T-3. Christy Mathewson 373
5. Pud Galvin 364
6. Warren Spahn 363
7. Kid Nichols 361
8. Greg Maddux 355
9. Roger Clemens 354