Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Salute to Greatness

Earlier, I profiled the retirement of Mike Mussina, stating how he was a great pitcher who was always just a bit overshadowed by others in his career.

Well it's happened again, as, on Monday, the great Greg Maddux finally decided that he, too, would retire.

Maddux is arguably the best pitcher of his generation and one of the best of all time. If the Moose is Hall of Famer, Maddux probably deserves his own wing. His 355 wins is 8th all-time, his 4 Cy Young Awards tie him with Hall of Famer Steve Carlton for 3rd most all-time, his 18 Gold Gloves (seriously?!?) are the most all time, his 3371 Ks are 10th all time, he has a 1.143 career WHIP, a stellar number, and his 3.37 K/BB ratio is good enough for 16th all time. Simply put, Greg Maddux is a legendary pitcher.
Maddux never had the most over-powering stuff (though it was certainly good) and he didn't throw a particularly impressive array of pitches. No, Maddux made a living making Leo Mazzone look like a genius for "locate your fastball and change speeds." Maddux was without a doubt the smartest pitcher out there and was always a true student of the game. Nobody was more prepared and it showed. In addition, anybody and everybody who played with or against the Mad Dog would agree that he was the classiest of competitors and a consumate professional and a gentleman.
It will be bizarre knowing that Maddux won't be challenging for 15 wins again next season for some NL team that likely will be making the playoffs. Baseball will miss this great ambassador of the game. There will never be another Greg Maddux.

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