Greg Maddux DodgersBy Alex Harvey

Control, command, and wit; all keys to Greg Maddux’s success. His talent is indisputable. The accomplishments speak for themselves. However, when the stadium lights shut off and the fans have gone home, Maddux does not hide from his role as an influential leader in the community. This commitment to excellence, both on the diamond and off, is what makes Greg Maddux my favorite player.

Gregory Alan Maddux was born in central Texas on the 16th of April, 1966. Most of his early childhood years however, were spent in Madrid, where his father, a member of the United States Air Force, was stationed. It was here that Greg was introduced to baseball, igniting a passion that would last for decades. Upon the family’s return to the states, brothers Mike and Greg received pitching guidance and coaching from Ralph Medar, a former scout. The focus soon turned from the elder Maddux to Greg. While preparing the young phenom for his pitching future at Valley High School, Medar offered Maddux the advice that would guide him into the majors. He stressed the importance of movement, location, and control over velocity, tailoring a strategy that would utilize Greg’s talents while downplaying what he lacked in power. Meadar taught Maddux two key pitches: the changeup and a variation of the two-seam fastball; pitches which would carry him to two All-State titles before his graduation in 1984.

While dominant on the mound, Maddux’s less than average physical build left scouts hesitant. He received few offers to play at the collegiate level, leading to his decision to enter the 1984 amateur draft. This same image plagued Greg in the draft, however the Chicago Cubs saw past this misconception and drafted him in the second round. Two years later, Greg Maddux took the mound in the 18th inning, making his major league debut. He gave up the game winning home run. Less than a week later, however, Maddux earned redemption in his first start, a complete game win, launching a legendary career.

Following stellar seasons in 1991 and 1992, Maddux was awarded with his first of four consecutive Cy Young awards. While a clear star for the Cubs, Maddux’s contract expired and the Braves scooped up the free agent for $28 million. It was money well spent. He pitched well throughout his first season with Atlanta and helped lead the team to the post season. The following year, Greg Maddux recorded a season-long ERA of 1.56, the second lowest in history. Seemingly impossible to replicate, Maddux returned in 1995, producing an ERA just seven hundredths of a point higher. It was with these numbers that the Braves were able to capture their third world championship, adding yet another accomplishment to Greg Maddux’s already lengthy résumé.

From 1996 to 2003, Maddux remained a consistent and critical cornerstone for the Braves. He continued to accumulate Gold Glove Awards, demonstrating hustle and determination after the pitch. Greg remained as reliable as ever, even throwing a 76 pitch complete game in 1997 and striking out over 200 batters the following season. Nineteen ninety-nine marked another trip to the World Series. While the team was unable to run the table, Maddux’s contributions provided them with the opportunity. Greg Maddux continued to exhibit extreme consistency and became a highly sought after free agent after the 2003 season.

Greg Maddux Chicago CubsIt had been twleve years since Greg Maddux was last a Cub and eighteen since his first start, but there were still records to be broken.  Two monumental milestones came in back-to-back seasons. In 2004, Maddux earned his 300th win in a victory over the Giants. His name was added to the history books again however, in 2005,  as strike three was called on Omar Vizquel becoming a victim of Greg Maddux’s 3000th strikeout.

Since 2006, Maddux has traveled from the Dodgers to the Padres and back, wrapping up an awe-inspiring career. Ensuring his claim to baseball history, the Mad Dog solidified his records and continued to climb the charts, passing legends from years past. After 23 exquisite seasons however, 2008 was likely his last. What else could such a highly decorated athlete achieve? It seems only one honor remains unclaimed; a spot in Cooperstown; one that is certainly in the future for Greg Maddux.

While Maddux’s on-field success is undeniable, his actions off the field and in the community are equally as impressive. Along with his wife Kathy, Greg founded the non-profit Maddux Foundation in 1993. Using his star status, Greg raises money for various organizations and causes, including childhood cancer, abused children, and battered women. Each year, Maddux teams up with Butch Harmon and countless other notable figures for the Maddux Harmon Celebrity Invitational raising close to one million dollars for local charities. In addition, Maddux takes pride in working with the next generation of baseball stars, appearing at youth clinics and camps at which he provides coaching and advise to young pitchers and players. This dedication to the community distinguishes Maddux as a true star.

Without question, Greg Maddux is, and will always be one of baseball’s best and a personal favorite of mine. Perhaps it was the World Series he helped win in ‘95 when I was just four, or watching batter after batter whiff at his change-up from the seats of Turner Field, or listening to his tips as he watched me pitch at a summer clinic , but I will always be a fan. “He’s the true definition of a pitcher,” Randy Johnson once said. He could only be describing one man; Greg Maddux: pitching ace, hometown hero, humanitarian, and my favorite player.

Mad Dog Must Haves – Greg Maddux’s Best Cards

5. High Grade 1987 Donruss Rookies (Search Ebay)
These graded ‘87 rookies are sure to increase in value as Maddux nears retirement. They are available for relatively affordable prices, and you can’t beat the mustache

Greg Maddux High Grade Donruss Rookie

4. 2005 Donruss Zenith Spellbound Patches /10 (Search Ebay)
The perfect multi-colored swatches with an innovative design. Collect all four letters (G-R-E-G), for the ultimate set of Maddux patches.

2005 Donruss Zenith Spellbound Greg Maddux

3. 2004 Playoff Prime Cuts Timeline Material Autograph/Patch /50 (Search Ebay)
These beautiful cards feature Greg Maddux’s unique autograph, as well a variations of multi-colored patch on a simple and attractive design, commemorating milestones on the ‘timeline’ of Maddux’s career, including his 1996 Cy Young Award.

2004 Playoff Prime Cuts Timeline Greg Maddux

2. Gem Mint 1987 David Berg Rookie (Search Ebay)
Extremely rare and highly sought after, it is not uncommon for these cards to sell for well over $300 on the internet marketplaces. Only distributed in a stadium giveaway, pristine copies are hard to come by.

Gem Mint 1987 David Berg Greg Maddux

1. 2005 Prime Patches Past and Present Button Combo /5 (Search Ebay)
A single button of a star player would be a prized piece for any collector. However, this card features two and offers a best-of-both-worlds layout, as it highlights Maddux’s transition from Brave to Cub. A button and photo from each team along with a low print run make for an awesome centerpiece for any Maddux collection.

2005 Prime Patches Past and Present Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux Best Baseball Card Values – (Search Ebay)

Common Greg Maddux Patch Cards – Readily available and selling for as little as $5, sharp looking Maddux patches are sure to be a great investment once he retires and likely enters the Hall of Fame.

Greg Maddux Patch Card