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Cubs to Retire Greg Maddux’s #31

In all fairness, the #31 was also worn by Hall-of-Famer Fergie Jenkins, but Greg Maddux is a true living legend of baseball. He retired last fall, so he’s now reaching the stage of his life where he is showered with praise and reverence across all of baseball, beginning with the retirement of his #31 at Wrigley Field this May. And after a career too amazing to describe in a single word, he will deserve every bit of praise and recognition he gets.

Maddux was known for his cerebral approach to the game, and incredibly deep knowledge of hitters’ tendencies, which allowed him to pitch with great longevity. He earned 355 wins during his career with Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Diego, including 17 straight seasons with at least 15 wins, a remarkable run of consistency for a pitcher. In this age of deep bullpens and five-man rotations, Maddux may be one of the last pitchers to ever reach the 300-win milestone.

In two stints with the Cubs, Maddux made 298 starts and won 133 games. He won his first of four straight Cy Young awards in 1992, when he went 20-11 with a 2.18 ERA and 199 strikeouts in 268 innings. He is also arguably the greatest defensive pitcher of all time, winning 18 Gold Gloves in his 23-year career. He was an eight-time All-Star, a number that seems minuscule compared to the rest of his prolific resume.

Maddux dominated baseball during his prime years, not unlike future Hall-of-Famers Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson. It’s only a matter of time before the Braves also retire #31, and in a few years he will be nearly unanimously voted into Cooperstown. Unfortunately, I could not find any good-enough video clips to do justice to Maddux’s career, but check out this nicely-done slide show tribute.

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March 19, 2009 - Posted by | baseball | , , , , , , ,

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