No denying Maddux's first-ballot Hall credentials
Sustained excellence, dominance likely to punch righty's ticket to Cooperstown
Greg Maddux is a candidate on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the first time. The results will be announced exclusively on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com live on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET as part of a three-hour live show beginning at noon. On Thursday, MLB.com and MLB Network will air the news conferences featuring the electees live from New York at 11 a.m. ET.
ATLANTA -- While the baseball world continues to marvel at his accomplishments, Greg Maddux seems much more interested in finding ways to help today's players benefit from some of the knowledge he gained during his legendary Major League career.
Since the last of his 23 big league seasons (2008, with the Padres and Dodgers), Maddux has assumed a number of roles. He's currently employed by the Rangers as a special assistant to the general manager, a role he previously held with the Cubs. Earlier this year, Maddux proudly served as Team USA's pitching coach in the World Baseball Classic.
Through these endeavors, which allow him to work with pitchers who may have once idolized him, Maddux has simply attempted to provide the same kind of guidance he received from the managers and pitching coaches -- most notably, Dick Pole and Leo Mazzone -- who helped mold him as he compiled the eighth-most wins (355) in Major League history.
"You coach and teach from your past experiences," Maddux said. "I know the things Leo taught me and Dick Pole and Bobby Cox and all of these guys, it gets passed down a little bit to the players I've been around the last couple of years, and hopefully, it helps them. That's the goal now. You help a player here and there and try to get their career jump-started. You don't think a whole lot about what you have done in the past. You're just kind of focused on what you're doing now and living your life the best way possible."
Although Maddux has never been one to bring attention to himself or his accomplishments, he understands he will once again become the focus of the baseball world on Wednesday, when the 2014 Hall of Fame class is announced.
This year's announcement will be a memorable one for many Braves fans. Both Maddux and Tom Glavine are expected to learn they will be inducted during a July 27 ceremony that will also feature their longtime manager Cox, who earned election from the Expansion Era Committee in December.
"Those guys were a big part of my baseball career, both Bobby and Glav," Maddux said. "To be able to share something with them again would be that much more special. You're always rooting for the best for your teammates and your ex-teammates. Whatever happens, happens. I'll be happy for both of them regardless of what happens. Just to be considered is an honor."
Maddux went 355-227 with a 3.16 ERA over 740 career starts. Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Pete Alexander, Christy Mathewson, Warren Spahn, Pud Galvin and Kid Nichols are the only pitchers who have recorded more wins. Spahn is the only member of that group who began pitching after the 1930 season.
When Maddux was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2009, Cox said, "I get asked all the time if he was the best pitcher I ever saw. Was he the smartest pitcher I ever saw? The most competitive I ever saw? The best teammate I ever saw? The answer is 'Yes' to all of those."
Maddux began his legendary career with the Cubs in 1986 and won the first of his four National League Cy Young Awards in 1992, while still in Chicago. The cerebral right-hander came to Atlanta via free agency before the start of the 1993 season and continued to be the Senior Circuit's top pitcher each of the next three years.
Maddux became the first pitcher to win four consecutive Cy Young Awards, an accomplishment that has since been matched by Randy Johnson. He compiled an incredible 1.98 ERA during the 124 starts he made during that four-year stretch. Jose Rijo was the only other qualified starter to produce a sub-3.00 ERA within that stretch.
During the strike-shortened 1994 season, Maddux went 16-6 with a 1.56 ERA -- the second-lowest mark recorded in a season since the mound was lowered in 1969. The next year, he went 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA and helped the Braves win the World Series.
"Winning that World Series and getting that ring definitely stands out, probably more than anything," Maddux said. "Just being able to play the game as long as I did. I was very fortunate to play all of those years, stay away from injury and just live the dream for 20 years. I think that stands out more than anything."
After spending 11 seasons with the Braves, Maddux returned to the Cubs and remained in Chicago before being traded to the Dodgers midway through the 2006 season. He joined the Padres in 2007 and played for San Diego until being traded back to Los Angeles to experience the final months of his career in 2008.
"I was fortunate to have played on different teams and be around a lot of coaches and managers," Maddux said. "You kind of take something from everybody. It's a nice luxury to have."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.