He ended his career similar to the way that he played throughout it, quiet, professional and classy. Most players that are not only the best at their position during their time in the game but one of the best of all time would announce their intentions up to a year before so they can get all the fanfare they can and be in the news as a final Harrah! Greg Maddux is not that type of person or player an announcement at 6pm on a Friday night is about as obscure a time as one could ever choose. But that is the most fitting way for this 4 time Cy Young, 18 time Gold Glove winner, 3,000+ strikeout, 355 game winner.
Maddux was one of the least imposing superstars ever to play. A man who looked more like an accountant then a pro ball player was for the majority of his career like a surgeon on the mound. Now a days a pitcher like this probably would never get a chance to get to the majors let alone become one of the best ever. Scouts won’t even give you a look if you can’t hit 90mph on the gun. Maddux learned early that it was more about movement, location and changing speeds then velocity and that was how he became the master.
There is little doubt now that he will be the face of pitching during this era. Maybe it would have been Roger Clemens before his recent troubles but not it almost has to be Maddux. In the steroid era he was never linked or suspected of any improprieties and will possibly be the last pitcher to achieve that many wins in the new age of pitching with 5 man rotations and the way bullpens are used.
In his prime he anchored one of the greatest pitching staffs ever assembled with himself Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz with the 14 time Division Champion Atlanta Braves and was the ace of the staff in 1995 when the Braves were World Champions.
I got the pleasure of watching him pitch in Montreal during an Expos game and saw in person just what a special player he was. Hopefully in 5 years I will get to see him where he belongs…in the Hall of Fame and going in with an Atlanta Braves hat (and not a Cubs one).
Congrats on a great career and for the great memories during your time in Atlanta.