Greg Maddux Biography
Greg Maddux is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who, during his 23-year career, pitched for the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. Maddux is one of only two pitchers in history to win four consecutive Cy Young Awards and to win at least 15 games in 17 consecutive seasons. Maddux also was awarded a record 18 Gold Gloves during his career and won more games during the 1990's -- the peak of his career -- than any other pitcher. Among those pitchers whose careers started post-1920, Maddux is second only to Warren Spahn in career victories. He ranks eighth on the all-time list with 355.
Gregory Alan Maddux was born on April 14, 1966, in San Angelo, Texas, though he would spend much of his childhood overseas, in Madrid, Spain, where his father was stationed as a member of the United States Air Force. His father, Dave, moved the family from Texas to Indiana, North Dakota, California and Madrid before finally settling in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Maddux's father exposed him to baseball at a rather young age and helped to develop his passion for the sport. Upon settling in Las Vegas, Greg and his brother Mike began training under the tutelage of Rusty Medar, a former professional scout. Medar preached the importance of movement and location above velocity. It was this lesson that would help Maddux become one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history.
Thanks in part to his work with Medar, Maddux flourished at Valley High School in Las Vegas. He was named to the All-State team in his junior and senior seasons at Valley High. Despite this, Maddux did not receive many athletic scholarship offers to play college baseball. Due to the lack of offers, Maddux decided to declare for the 1984 Major League Draft and was subsequently selected in the 2nd round that June by the Chicago Cubs.
Upon being drafted by the Cubs, Maddux started in Pikesville with the Cubs' Rookie League affiliate. He proceeded to go 6-2 with a 2.63 ERA, including two shutouts in 12 starts that season. He also held opponents to a .205 batting average. In 1985, Maddux was promoted to Peoria, where he tossed 186 innings and won 13 games in 27 starts for Peoria, of the Midwest League, and subsequently was named to the league All-Star team. It would be the first of many double-digit win seasons for Maddux.
In 1986, Maddux was promoted to the majors after combining to go 14-4 in 26 games at Pittsfield (AA) and Iowa (AAA). He was particularly dominant in Triple-A, where he went 10-1 in 18 starts.
In 1986, Maddux made his Major League debut in just his third season of professional baseball, becoming the youngest Cub to pitch in a game since Rick James did so in 1967. Maddux made his first appearance against Houston on September 2, 1986 -- just four months past his 20th birthday.
The 1986 season would present numerous other firsts for Maddux. He hurled his first career complete game in his first career Major League start, an 11-3 victory over the Reds on Sept. 7. In doing so, he became the youngest Cub to record a complete-game victory since Ken Holtzman in 1966. Maddux would pick up his second win by defeating his brother Mike and Milwaukee in another first: the first time in Major League history two rookie brothers opposed each other.
After getting off to a good start in 1986, Maddux took a step back in his first full season in the big leagues. Maddux posted a mark of 6-14 with a 5.61 ERA that season, but he returned with a flurry in 1988, finishing 18-8 with a 3.18 ERA. With that season, so began a remarkable run of consistency and dominance, as Maddux would go on to post 17 straight seasons of 15 or more wins, the longest such streak in Major League history.
In 1989, Maddux won 19 games, becoming the first Cub to win 18 or more games in consecutive seasons since Ferguson Jenkins in 1971 and 1972. More importantly, Maddux was the pitcher of record on Sept. 26 when the Cubs clinched the National League Eastern Division title, working 8.1 innings in the win. It was the Cubs' second division title. Maddux did have a rough postseason, though, including surrendering a crucial grand slam to Giants first baseman Will Clark in his first start and taking a no-decision in his second.
After consecutive 15-win seasons in 1990 and 1991 -- also earning his first two career Gold Gloves -- Maddux won 20 games in 1992, tied for the NL lead, and was awarded his first National League Cy Young Award. He also would win his third Gold Glove that season. However, after the 1992 regular season, Maddux was scheduled to become a free agent. When contract talks broke down between Cubs GM Larry Himes and Maddux' agent, Scott Boras, Maddux proceeded to sign a five-year, $28-million deal with the Atlanta Braves. After seven seasons in Chicago, Maddux finished 95-75 with a 3.35 ERA.
Maddux's tenure with the Braves would prove to be a fruitful one. In his first season with Atlanta, the pitcher went on to win his second consecutive Cy Young Award, joining Gaylord Perry as the only pitchers to win the award for two teams. Thanks to a second-straight 20-win season and a league-leading 2.36 ERA, Maddux also won his fourth consecutive Gold Glove award.
In 1994, Maddux was a unanimous selection for the NL Cy Young Award, the third in as many seasons for him. At the time, he was the 10th player ever to win the award unanimously, having led the league with a 1.56 ERA and 10 complete games. His ERA was the third-lowest in the majors since 1919. He would go on to start his first career MLB All-Star game, allowing one run over three innings. Bolstered by rotation-mates John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Steve Avery, Maddux and the Braves lost to the Phillies in the National League Championship Series.
The next season would be a banner year for the Braves and Maddux, as the ace was awarded his fourth consecutive Cy Young Award and his second straight unanimous selection, joining Sandy Koufax as the only pitcher to be so honored. Maddux went 19-2 and became the first pitcher to post back-to-back ERAs under 1.80 since Walter Johnson in 1918 and 1919. In June and July of that season, Maddux threw 51 consecutive innings without issuing a walk and would go on to pitch effectively in the Braves postseason run. In Game 1 of the 1995 World Series, Maddux tossed nine innings of two-hit baseball, outdueling Orel Hershiser. The Braves went on to win their first World Series Championship, defeating the Cleveland Indians in six games.
Though he would not win the Cy Young again, Maddux continued to be one of the elite pitchers in the game, finishing fifth, second and fourth in the Cy Young voting from 1996-1998. In August 1997, Maddux signed a five-year, $57.5 million extension that made him the highest paid player in baseball at the time. He proceeded to go 19-4 in 1997, 18-9 in 1998, 19-9 in both 1999 and 2000, 17-11 in 2001, 16-6 in 2002 and 16-11 in 2003. That 2003 season would be his last with the Braves.
Throughout his career with Atlanta, Maddux fronted the vaunted Braves rotation, including Glavine and Smoltz, who pitched together for more than a decade. The three formed the core of a group that won its division every year Maddux was on the team. From 1993-2003, Maddux posted a record of 194-88 with a 2.63 ERA.
In something of a homecoming, Maddux returned to the Cubs as a free agent before the 2004 season. On Aug. 7, Maddux recorded his 300th career victory, a win over the San Francisco Giants. His second, three-year stint with the Cubs would be filled with career achievements. On July 26, 2005, Maddux became the 13th member of the 3,000 strikeout club; he became one of just four members of that club to do so while also walking fewer than 1,000 batters.
In 2005, Maddux's streak of 17 consecutive seasons of 15 or more wins was snapped -- his 13-15 season was his first losing record since 1987. Maddux went 38-37 in two-and-a-half more seasons for the Cubs before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers midway through the 2006 season.
Maddux would wind down his career by helping the Dodgers make the playoffs in 2006, though they lost in the first round to the New York Mets. During his Dodger portion of the 2006 season, Maddux recorded his 330th win, passing Steve Carlton to take possession of 10th on the all-time list. He would go on to win 15 games in 2006, his 18th time placing among the top-10 in wins for his league, breaking a record he shared with Cy Young and Warren Spahn.
In December 2006, Maddux signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the San Diego Padres with a player option for 2008 (which would be eventually exercised). On Aug. 24, 2007, he took sole possession of ninth on the all-time wins list, while also becoming the only pitcher in history to have 20 consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins. He went on to win his 17th Gold Glove in 2007 and his 350th career game in May 2008.
Maddux was traded back to the Dodgers on Aug. 19, 2008. Maddux won his 355th game that season, moving him ahead of Roger Clemens into eighth all-time for wins. Maddux received his 18th Gold Glove award in November 2008 and, one month later, announced his retirement from baseball. The Cubs retired his No. 31 jersey on May 3, 2009, in honor of both Maddux and Ferguson Jenkins, while the Braves also retired Maddux's No. 31 on July 17, 2009. Maddux finished his Major League career with a 355-227 record and a 3.16 ERA.
On January 11, 2010, Maddux was hired by the Chicago Cubs as an assistant to maanger Jim Hendry. His duty within the organization is developing pitchers' styles and techniques throughout the major league team and its minor league affiliates.
Maddux is married to wife Kathy and the couple has two children; a daughter, Amanda "Paige" and a son, Chase. They currently reside in Las Vegas, Nevada.