Maddux to announce retirement Monday
Four-time Cy Young ending career ranked eighth with 355 wins
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.