Gregory Alan Maddux (born April 14, 1966) is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher. Maddux is best known for his accomplishments while playing for the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs. With the Braves, he won the 1995 World Series over the Cleveland Indians. The first to achieve a number of feats and records, he was the first pitcher in major league history to win the Cy Young Award for four consecutive years (1992–1995), matched by only one other pitcher, Randy Johnson. During those four seasons, Maddux had a 75–29 record with a 1.98 earned run average (ERA), while allowing less than one baserunner per inning.
Maddux is the only pitcher in MLB history to win at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons. In addition, he holds the record for most Gold Gloves with 18. A superb control pitcher, Maddux won more games during the 1990s than any other pitcher and is 8th on the all-time career wins list with 355. Since the start of the post-1920 live-ball era, only Warren Spahn (363) recorded more career wins than Maddux. He is one of only 10 pitchers ever to achieve both 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts, and is the only pitcher to record over 300 wins, over 3,000 strikeouts, and fewer than 1,000 walks.
Since his retirement as a player, Maddux has also served as a special assistant to the general manager for both the Cubs and Texas Rangers. On January 8, 2014, he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, in his first year of eligibility, receiving 97.2% of the votes.
Maddux in 2009
|Born: April 14, 1966|
San Angelo, Texas
|September 3, 1986, for the Chicago Cubs|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 27, 2008, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Earned run average||3.16|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Vote||97.2% (first ballot)|
Maddux was born in San Angelo, Texas and spent much of his childhood in Madrid, Spain, where the United States Air Force stationed his father. His father exposed him to baseball at an early age. Upon his return to Las Vegas, Nevada, Maddux and his brother Mike trained under the supervision of Ralph Meder, a former scout from the majors. Meder preached the value of movement and location above velocity, and advised throwing softer when in a jam instead of harder. Maddux would later say, "I believed it. I don't know why. I just did." Though Meder died before Maddux graduated from Valley High School in Las Vegas in 1984, he instilled a firm foundation that would anchor Maddux's future career.
Mike Maddux was drafted in 1982. When scouts went to observe the elder Maddux, their father Dave told them, "You will be back later for the little one." Some baseball scouts were unimpressed by Maddux's skinny build, but Chicago Cubs scout Doug Mapson saw past the physique. Mapson wrote a glowing review that read in part, "I really believe this boy would be the number one player in the country if only he looked a bit more physical."
Maddux was drafted in the second round of the 1984 Major League Baseball draft by the Cubs, and made his major league debut on September 3, 1986, the conclusion of the September 2nd game which had been postponed due to darkness (lights were not installed at Wrigley Field until 1988). At the time, Maddux was the youngest player in the majors. His first appearance in a major league game was as a pinch runner (for catcher Jody Davis) in the 17th inning against the Houston Astros. Maddux then pitched in the 18th inning, allowing a home run to Billy Hatcher and taking the loss. His first start, five days later, was a complete game win. In his fifth and final start of 1986, Maddux defeated his older brother, who was pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies, marking the first time rookie brothers had pitched against each other. Mike Maddux was well used to his younger brother's competitive spirit, saying of their youth, "If Greg couldn't win, he didn't want to play, plain and simple."
In 1987, his first full season in the majors, Maddux struggled to a 6–14 record and 5.61 ERA, but he flourished in 1988, finishing 18–8 with a 3.18 ERA. This began a streak of 17 straight seasons in which Maddux recorded 15 or more wins, the longest such streak in MLB history.
Maddux established himself as the Cubs' ace in 1989, winning 19 games, including a September game at Montreal's Olympic Stadium that clinched the Cubs' second-ever National League Eastern Division championship. Manager Don Zimmer tabbed him to start Game One of the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants. He allowed eight runs and was relieved after surrendering Will Clark's grand slam home run with two outs in the fourth. Maddux believed that just before the grand slam, Clark was able to read his lips during a conference at the mound between Maddux and Zimmer, and so knew what pitch to expect. After that incident, Maddux always covered his mouth with his glove during conversations on the mound. Maddux took a no-decision in Game Four; the Cubs ended up losing the NLCS four-games-to-one.
After consecutive 15-win seasons in 1990 and 1991, Maddux won 20 games in 1992, tied for the NL lead, and was voted his first National League Cy Young Award. Free agency was pending for Maddux, but contract talks with the Cubs became contentious and eventually ceased. Both Chicago general manager Larry Himes and Maddux's agent, Scott Boras, accused the other of failing to negotiate in good faith. The Cubs eventually decided to pursue other free agents, including José Guzmán, Dan Plesac, and Candy Maldonado. After seven seasons in Chicago, Maddux signed a five-year, $28 million deal with the Atlanta Braves.
He made his debut with the Braves as their opening day starter against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, beating his former teammates 1–0. It was a good start to another strong season. He led the NL in ERA for the first time while posting a 20–10 record. Maddux won his second straight Cy Young Award, and the Braves took their rotation of Maddux, 22-game winner Tom Glavine, 18-game winner Steve Avery, and 15-game winner John Smoltz to the postseason. Maddux won against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Two of the NLCS, but with Atlanta trailing 3 games to 2, lost the decisive Game Six.
During the strike-shortened 1994 season, Maddux posted an ERA of 1.56, the second lowest since Bob Gibson's historic 1.12 in 1968, the last year of the elevated mound, and the lowest in the majors since Dwight Gooden's 1.53 in 1985. It pleased Maddux that his 1994 batting average (.222) was higher than his ERA. Maddux also led the National League in wins (with 16) and innings pitched (202) in his third Cy Young-winning year. Maddux also finished 5th in National League Most Valuable Player voting in 1994.
In the following 1995 season, Maddux was 19–2 and posted the third-lowest ERA since Gibson's: 1.63. Maddux became the first pitcher to post back-to-back ERAs under 1.80 since Walter Johnson in 1918 (1.27) and 1919 (1.49). Maddux's 1.63 ERA came in a year when the overall league ERA was 4.23. Since the introduction of the live-ball era in 1920, there have only been five pitchers to have full-season ERAs under 1.65: Gibson and Luis Tiant in the anomalous 1968 season, Gooden in 1985, and Maddux, twice. Maddux's 19 wins led the National League, for the third time in four seasons.
On May 28, 1995, he beat the Astros, losing a no-hitter on an eighth-inning home run to Jeff Bagwell. It was the only nine-inning one-hitter of his career. In June and July, Maddux threw 51 consecutive innings without issuing a walk. Maddux pitched effectively in all three of the Braves's postseason series, winning a game in each. His Game One victory in the 1995 World Series involved nine innings, two hits, no walks, and no earned runs with Orel Hershiser pitching for the opposite team. Maddux took the loss in Game Five, but the Atlanta Braves won their first World Series championship two days later. Following the 1995 season, Maddux won his fourth straight Cy Young Award, a major league record, and his second consecutive unanimous award. Maddux also finished third in that year's National League Most Valuable Player voting. The Atlanta Braves also made good on a pre-season promise to their pitching rotation, installing a putting green in the locker room at the newly built Turner Field following the World Series victory.
From 1996 to 1998, Maddux finished fifth, second, and fourth in the Cy Young voting. In August 1997, Maddux signed a $57.5-million, five-year contract extension that made him the highest-paid player in baseball. In February 2003, he avoided arbitration by signing a one-year $14.75-million deal. Maddux's production remained consistent: a 19–4 record 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, his last season as a Brave. From 1993 to 1998, Maddux led the National League in ERA four times, and was second the other two seasons.
On July 22, 1997, Maddux threw a complete game with just 78 pitches (63 strikes and 15 balls) against the Cubs. Three weeks earlier, he had shut out the defending champion New York Yankees on 84 pitches, and five days before that, he'd beaten the Phillies with a 90-pitch complete game. Maddux allowed just 20 bases on balls in 1997, including six intentional walks.
Maddux struck out 200+ batters for the only time in his career in 1998. He outdueled the Cubs's Kerry Wood to clinch the NLDS, but the Braves were eliminated in the next round. The Braves returned to the World Series in 1999. Maddux was the Game One starter, and took a 1–0 lead into the eighth inning before a Yankee rally cost him the game and eventually the series as the Braves were swept.
On June 14, 2000, Maddux made his 387th putout to break Jack Morris's career record. In September 2000, he had a streak of 401⁄3 scoreless innings. He pitched poorly in his one playoff start of 2000. In May 2001, Maddux became the first Braves pitcher since 1916 to throw two 1–0 shutouts in the same month. The first included a career-best 14 strikeouts. In July and August of that year, Maddux pitched 721⁄3 consecutive innings without giving up a walk; that streak ended when he intentionally threw four balls to Steve Finley. In 2002, he won his 13th straight Gold Glove Award, an NL record. Maddux tied Jim Kaat's career record of 16 Gold Gloves after the 2006 season.
Throughout most of his years with the Braves, in the tradition of other pitching greats such as Steve Carlton, Maddux often had his own personal catcher. Though the Braves's primary catcher during much of that time was Javy López, Maddux at various points used Charlie O'Brien, Eddie Pérez, Paul Bako, and Henry Blanco, for the majority of his starts, which were generally regarded as Lopez's day off, though Lopez did sometimes catch Maddux in his post-season starts.
Maddux was the crown jewel in the much-vaunted Braves trio of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz, who pitched together for over a decade as the core of one of the best pitching staffs in the history of the game. The three were the linchpin of a team that won its division (the National League West in 1993 and the East from then on) every year that Maddux was on the team (1994 had no division champions). The three pitchers were frequently augmented by other strong starters such as Steve Avery, Kevin Millwood, Denny Neagle, and Russ Ortiz. In 1995, they pitched the Braves to a World Series title. In 29 postseason games with Atlanta, Maddux had a 2.81 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP, but just an 11–13 record.
Maddux returned to the Cubs as a free agent prior to the 2004 season, when he signed with them on February 18, 2004. Maddux got his first win on April 23 after losing 3 consecutive games at the beginning of the season. On August 7, Maddux defeated the San Francisco Giants, 8-4, to garner his 300th career victory. In April 2005, he beat Roger Clemens for his 306th win in the first National League matchup between 300-game winners in 113 years. On July 26, 2005, after a three-hour rain delay, Maddux struck out Omar Vizquel to become the thirteenth member of the 3,000 strikeout club and only the ninth pitcher with both 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts, having reached both marks against the San Francisco Giants. Maddux finished as one of the four pitchers to top 3,000 strikeouts while having allowed fewer than 1,000 walks (he had 999). The other three pitchers who have accomplished this feat are Ferguson Jenkins, Curt Schilling, and Pedro Martínez.
Maddux's 13–15 record in 2005 was his first losing record since 1987, and snapped a string of seventeen consecutive seasons with 15 or more wins. (Cy Young had surpassed the 15-win total for 15 straight years; both Young and Maddux reached 13+ wins for 19 consecutive seasons. This is even more impressive considering that Cy Young pitched in an era with no more than 4 regular starters that would average more than 40+ games per season, whereas Maddux pitched in an era with a 5-man rotation where reaching 40 starts in a season was virtually unheard of.)
Maddux's second stint with the Chicago Cubs lasted until mid-2006, when he was traded for the first time in his career, to the Los Angeles Dodgers. At the time, the Dodgers were in the thick of a playoff race. In his first Dodger start, Maddux threw six no-hit innings before a rain delay interrupted his debut. In his next start, Maddux needed just 68 pitches to throw eight shutout innings. On August 30, 2006, he won his 330th career game, passing Steve Carlton to take sole possession of 10th on the all-time list. On September 30, 2006, Maddux pitched seven innings in San Francisco, allowing two runs and three hits in a 4–2 victory over the Giants, clinching a postseason spot for the Dodgers and notching another 15-win season. It was Maddux's 18th season among his league's Top 10 for wins, breaking a record he'd shared with Cy Young and Warren Spahn, who did it 17 times apiece. However, the Dodgers were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Mets. Maddux started the third and final game, throwing an ineffective no-decision. Maddux was honored with a Fielding Bible Award as the best fielding pitcher in MLB for 2006.
On December 5, 2006, Maddux agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with the San Diego Padres with a player option for the 2008 season, an option that Maddux later exercised at a reported $10 million. Maddux earned his 338th victory in the game that Trevor Hoffman earned his milestone 500th save. On August 24, 2007, he won his 343rd game to take sole possession of ninth place on the all-time win list. He achieved another milestone with the same win, becoming the only pitcher in the major leagues to have 20 consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins and placing him second on the list for most 10-win seasons, tied with Nolan Ryan and behind Don Sutton, who has 21. Also in 2007, Maddux reached 13 wins for the 20th consecutive season, passing Cy Young for that major league record. He finished the season with a career total 347 wins. Maddux won a record 17th Gold Glove award in 2007. On May 10, 2008, Maddux won his 350th game.
Maddux was traded back to the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 19 for two players to be named later or cash considerations by the San Diego Padres. His return to Los Angeles was unlike his debut, though, as he allowed 7 earned runs on 9 hits while taking a loss against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Maddux pitched his 5,000th career inning against the San Francisco Giants on September 19. On September 27, in his final start of the season, he won his 355th game, moving him ahead of Roger Clemens into 8th place in all-time wins. Maddux ranks tenth in career strikeouts with 3,371. His strikeout total is balanced against 999 walks. For the 2008 season, he posted an 8–13 record. His 1.4 walks per 9 innings pitched were the best in the majors.
After the Dodgers won the National League West, Maddux was moved to the bullpen after manager Joe Torre decided to go with a three-man rotation. Maddux pitched four innings of relief during the series (which the Dodgers lost), allowing no runs. Maddux was noted for his ability to warm up quickly.
On January 11, 2010, Maddux was hired by the Chicago Cubs as an assistant to General Manager Jim Hendry. In his return to Chicago, his focus was on developing pitchers' styles and techniques throughout the organization, including minor league affiliates. For the 2012 season Maddux left his position with the Cubs and joined the Texas Rangers organization, where his brother Mike was the pitching coach.
Maddux relied on his command, composure, and guile to outwit hitters. Though his fastball touched 93 mph in his early years, his velocity steadily declined throughout his career, and was never his principal focus as a pitcher. By the end of his career, his fastball averaged less than 86 mph. Maddux was also noted for the late movement on his sinker (two-seam fastball), which, combined with his control, made him known as an excellent groundball pitcher. While Maddux was not known for his strikeout totals, his strikeout totals have often been undersold because strikeout rate has often been measured per nine innings, rather than per batter faced. Maddux alternated his two-seam fastball with an excellent circle changeup. Though these served as his primary pitches, he also threw a four-seam fastball, a cutter, a curveball, a slider, and a splitter.
Maddux was renowned for focusing on the outside corner. This approach was emphasized under former Atlanta Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone. He would begin by throwing strikes with his fastball down and away, then expand the strike zone with his changeup—sometimes obtaining borderline strike calls from umpires simply on the strength of his reputation. In complement with this strategy, Maddux popularized a tactic of throwing his two-seam fastball off the plate inside to left-handed hitters, only to have the ball break back over the inside corner for a strike. Maddux said of that pitch, "That was just my normal fastball that did that. ... I always had it. The pitch really started to work for me when I ... learned how to throw a cutter, it made that pitch more effective."
In addition, his propensity for throwing strikes and avoiding walks kept his pitch counts low. On July 2, 1997 he won a game against the New York Yankees, for example, with the numbers "nine innings, three hits, no walks, eight strikeouts, one pickoff, one double play, 84 pitches ... [in] two hours and nine minutes". Dodgers general manager Fred Claire admired Maddux's pitching consistency, saying "It's almost like a guy lining up a 60-foot-6-inch putt ... he is just so disciplined, so repetitive in his pitches." Speaking about Maddux's accuracy, Orel Hershiser said, "This guy can throw a ball in a teacup." Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs talked about facing Maddux: "It seems like he's inside your mind with you. When he knows you're not going to swing, he throws a straight one. He sees into the future. It's like he has a crystal ball hidden inside his glove."
Maddux was also known for intensely studying hitters in preparation for his starts. He would often watch hitters take their warmup swings or read their body language to gauge their mentality. Teammate Tom Glavine said, "I think the hitters think he can go back and recall every pitch he has ever thrown. That's not the case, but I think he's probably better at remembering things than most people are. He's definitely better in the course of the game at making adjustments on a hitter based on what he's seen, whether it's one swing or a guy's last at-bat."
Finally, Maddux has been praised for his superior pitching mechanics, helping him avoid serious arm injuries throughout his lengthy career. One analyst of pitching mechanics wrote, "Maddux's sterling reputation for pitching mechanics is more than justified. He could repeat his delivery as well as any pitcher that I have ever seen, with consistent timing and positioning that persisted regardless of pitch type or pitch count, giving the impression that he was never fatigued." Maddux was also a highly durable pitcher, leading the National League in innings pitched in five consecutive years. He pitched at least 194 innings for 21 consecutive seasons, and finished with the lowest BB/9 ratio in the National League nine times.
|Greg Maddux's number 31 was retired by the Chicago Cubs in 2009.|
|Greg Maddux's number 31 was retired by the Atlanta Braves in 2009.|
Maddux has been credited by many of his teammates with a superior ability to outthink his opponents and anticipate results. Braves catcher Eddie Pérez tells the story of Maddux intentionally allowing a home run to the Astros's Jeff Bagwell, in anticipation of facing Bagwell in the playoffs months later. Maddux felt Bagwell would instinctively be looking for the same pitch again, which Maddux would then refuse to throw. On another occasion while sitting on the bench, Maddux once told his teammates, "Watch this, we might need to call an ambulance for the first base coach." The batter, Los Angeles' José Hernández, drove the next pitch into the chest of the Dodgers' first base coach. Maddux had noticed that Hernández, who'd been pitched inside by Braves pitching during the series, had shifted his batting stance slightly. On another occasion, a former teammate, outfielder Marquis Grissom, recalled a game in 1996 when Maddux was having trouble spotting his fastball. Between innings, he told Grissom, "Gary Sheffield is coming up next inning. I am going to throw him a slider and make him just miss it so he hits it to the warning track." The at-bat went as Maddux had predicted.
Early in the 2000 season, Maddux was asked by sportswriter Bob Nightengale what had been the most memorable at-bat of his pitching career. Maddux said it was striking out Dave Martinez to end a regular season game. Nightengale was surprised Maddux hadn't picked a postseason game, or a more famous player. Maddux explained: "I remember that one because he got a hit off me in the same situation (full count, bases loaded, two out in the 9th inning) seven years earlier. I told myself if I ever got in the same situation again, I'll pitch him differently. It took me seven years, but I got him."
Publicly, however, Maddux is dismissive of his reputation, saying, "People think I'm smart? You know what makes you smart? Locate your fastball down and away. That's what makes you smart. You talk to Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, or Tom Seaver. They'll all tell you the same thing. It's not your arm that makes you a great pitcher. It's that thing between both of your ears we call a brain."
To this day, Maddux maintains Koufax, Gibson, and Seaver are the three best pitchers of the "live ball" era of baseball. Informed by "The Sporting News" he had been voted best pitcher of the 1990s, he replied, "It [the award] could have gone to Glavine or Smoltz just as easily and each would have deserved it. They're both great pitchers."
Maddux never walked more than 82 batters in any season of his career, averaging fewer than 2 walks per game. In 1997, Maddux allowed 20 walks in 232+ innings, or 0.77 per 9 innings. In 2001, he set a National League record by going 721⁄3 innings without giving up a walk.
Maddux's low walk totals also kept his pitch counts down, enabling him to go deeper into games. In 31 starts, Maddux threw 9 innings with 100 or fewer pitches. Ten of those starts were under 90 pitches, including a 76-pitch complete game in July 1997, the most efficient start by any pitcher since 1979.
In addition to his pitching skills, Maddux was an excellent fielding pitcher. He won 18 Gold Gloves, the all-time record for any position. Of his 18 total awards, Maddux won 10 with the Braves, five with the Cubs, two with the Dodgers and one with the Padres. Maddux was also a good hitting pitcher, with a career .171 batting average, including four seasons batting .200 or better. He hit 5 home runs, with 84 RBIs.
Maddux pitched in 13 Division Series contests, 17 League Championship games and five World Series games. He has a 3.27 ERA in 198 postseason innings, including an outstanding 2.09 ERA in 38.7 World Series innings. He was chosen for the National League All-Star team eight times.
Maddux won 20 games only twice, in 1992 and 1993. However, he won 19 games five times (including the 1995 season which was reduced to 144 games from the strike of 1994), 18 games twice, and 16 in the strike shortened 1994 season (which was reduced to 115 games). He won four ERA titles (in 1993–1995 and 1998), and led the NL in shutouts five times. He holds the major league record for seasons leading his league in games started (7). He also holds the record for most seasons finishing in the top 10 in the league in wins (18).
In his 2009 book, "The Annual Baseball Gold Mine" baseball statistics guru Bill James found Maddux to be far and away the most underrated player in baseball history. The methodology for this included the fact that though Maddux only won 20 games twice, he won 19 games five times. He also had only one season of 200 or more strikeouts but had seasons of 199, 198 and 197, respectively, which diminished his reputation as a strikeout pitcher. In addition to that James also argued that although he had 18 seasons of 200 or more innings pitched, he also had three seasons of 199.1, 198 and 194 innings pitched.
In 1999, Maddux ranked 39th on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, the highest-ranking pitcher then active. He was also nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. However, when TSN updated their list in 2005, Maddux had fallen to number 51.
The Cubs retired jersey number 31 on May 3, 2009 in honor of both Maddux and Ferguson Jenkins. The Atlanta Braves retired Maddux's number 31, on July 17, 2009.
"I get asked all the time was he the best pitcher I ever saw. Was he the smartest pitcher I ever saw? The most competitive I ever saw? The best teammate I ever saw? The answer is yes to all of those", said Braves manager Bobby Cox at the banquet to induct Maddux into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame at the Omni Hotel in Atlanta on July 17, 2009.
Maddux was born on April 14, 1966, the same day as former Braves teammate David Justice and shares a birthday with former teammate Steve Avery. He is married to Kathy; the couple has 2 children; a daughter, Amanda "Paige" (born December 9, 1993), and a son, "Satchel" Chase Maddux (born April 19, 1997).
In 2002, in the episode "Take Me out of the Ballgame", of the TV series Do Over, the main character lost a baseball game to a young Greg Maddux, who was played by Shad Hart.
On January 8, 2014 Maddux was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The pitcher later announced that he would not have a team logo on his plaque, citing his history with both the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs: "It's impossible for me to choose one of those teams ... as the fans of both clubs in each of those cities were so wonderful", Maddux said.
| Youngest Player in the
| NL hits per nine innings
The 1993 Atlanta Braves season was the Braves' 123rd in existence and their 28th since moving to Atlanta. The Braves were looking to improve on their 98-64 record from 1992 and win the National League pennant for a third consecutive year.
The Braves finished the season with a 104-58 record to win the National League West for the third consecutive year after trailing the San Francisco Giants, who finished in second place by one game, for most of the season in what is generally regarded as the last real pennant race before playoff expansion. 1993 was also the last year that the team competed in the National League West, as they would shift to the National League East for 1994.
Despite their excellent regular season, the Braves' streak of National League pennants ended at two as they fell to the underdog Philadelphia Phillies in six games in the National League Championship Series. By a twist of fate, the Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Phillies in-state rivals, in back-to-back NLCS series in 1991 and 1992, but in 1993, lost to the Pirates in-state rivals.1994 Atlanta Braves season
The 1994 Atlanta Braves season was the Braves' 124th in existence and their 29th in Atlanta. After trading the two-sport athlete Deion Sanders, experts predicted that the Atlanta Braves were going to have their worst season since 1935. The Braves' records reflect just how successful that year was, although it was curtailed due to the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike. The Braves played a total of 114 games; they won 68 and lost 46. The Braves finished their 1994 season with a winning percentage .596, ranking the Braves 2nd overall in the MLB, although they were six games behind the Montreal Expos in the NL East.1994 Major League Baseball season
The 1994 Major League Baseball season ended on August 11, 1994, with the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike. It was the first season played under the current three-division format in each league. It was also the first with an Opening Night game involving two National League teams, which did not become permanent until 1996.1995 Atlanta Braves season
The 1995 Atlanta Braves season was the 125th season in the history of the franchise and 30th season in the city of Atlanta. The team finished the strike-shortened season with a record of 90–54, the best in the National League, en route to winning the World Series. For the sixth straight season, the team was managed by Bobby Cox.The Braves started the season in mediocre fashion, posting a 20–17 record up to June 4, putting them in third place behind the Philadelphia Phillies and the Montreal Expos. The team went on to win twenty of the last twenty-five games before the All-Star Break to put themselves in first place by four and a half games. In the second half of the season, the Braves pulled away from the rest of the division by going 11–7 over the rest of July and 19–10 in August. The team went on to win the division by twenty-one games. The Braves' 90–54 record was second only to the American League's Cleveland Indians, who went 100–44 on the season. The National League East title was the first of 11 consecutive NL East titles and the fourth of 14 consecutive division titles for the Braves (the Braves won the NL West from 1991–93).In the postseason, the Braves beat the Colorado Rockies in the NL Division Series three games to one, then swept the Cincinnati Reds four games to zero to win the NL Championship Series. In the World Series, the Braves beat the Cleveland Indians four games to two, bringing the first (and currently only) World Championship to the city of Atlanta.Through completion of the 2015 MLB season, the Braves are the only team out of eight MLB franchises to have first swept their opponent in the League Championship Series (LCS), and subsequently go onto win the World Series. This two-decades-long milestone for Atlanta is based upon the (LCS) becoming a best-of-seven (games) format 10 years earlier, 1985.
Opening Day starter Greg Maddux led the National League in wins (19) and earned run average (1.63) to secure his fourth consecutive Cy Young Award. Marquis Grissom won a Gold Glove for center field, and Greg Maddux won his sixth (of thirteen) consecutive Gold Gloves.1998 Atlanta Braves season
The 1998 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 33rd season in Atlanta and 128th overall. They went on to win their seventh consecutive division title, taking the National League East title by 18 games over the second place New York Mets.
The team featured six all stars: shortstop Walt Weiss and third baseman Chipper Jones were voted as starters, while first baseman Andrés Galarraga, catcher Javy López, and pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were selected as reserves. Jones and Lopez each hit over 30 home runs as Galaragga (acquired from Colorado) led the club in home runs and RBI. Galaragga finished as an MVP candidate.
The 1998 Braves beat the Chicago Cubs three games to none in the National League Division Series. In the next round Atlanta then lost to the San Diego Padres in the National League Championship Series four games to two. Despite winning two games after losing the first three, Atlanta's comeback bid came short by being eliminated in game 6. San Diego's winning over Atlanta was seen as one of the biggest upsets in postseason history.
This team has earned a few historic accolades. ESPN writer David Schoenfield lists them as one of the top teams in MLB history to not win a World SeriesESPN columnist Jeff Merron also writes that the pitching staff of Maddux, Glavine, John Smoltz, Denny Neagle, and Kevin Millwood was the greatest of all time. The quintet posted a cumulative 2.97 ERA and amassed 88 wins (almost 18 wins per starter), equaling the win total of the 2nd place Mets. The 1998 Braves are the only team in MLB history to have five pitchers each strike out 150 batters in the same season. Glavine, the lone 20 game winner in the National League for that year, won the Cy Young Award.1998 National League Championship Series
The 1998 National League Championship Series (NLCS), to determine the champion of Major League Baseball's National League, was played from October 7 to 14 between the East Division champion Atlanta Braves and the West Division champion San Diego Padres.
The Braves entered the playoffs for the seventh straight season with a franchise-record 106 regular season wins, an offense that hit 215 home runs, and a pitching staff made up of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Denny Neagle, and Kevin Millwood to the playoffs. However, they also carried the baggage of their embarrassing NLCS loss to the Florida Marlins the previous season. In the NLDS, the Braves swept Sammy Sosa and the Chicago Cubs.
After a 76–86 season in 1997, San Diego stormed out and took control of their division, finishing with a 98–64 record, their best in team history. The offense was led by the 50 home run club's newest member, Greg Vaughn, and by Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. The San Diego rotation was anchored by eighteen-game winner Kevin Brown, who helped Florida defeat Atlanta in the 1997 NLCS, along with All-Star Andy Ashby and the series MVP Sterling Hitchcock. Closer Trevor Hoffman saved an astounding 53 games in the regular season. The Padres defeated the favored Houston Astros in four games in the NLDS.
It was the seventh-consecutive NLCS appearance for the Braves and they would be heavily favored against the Padres.
The Padres would go on to the lose in a sweep to the New York Yankees in the World Series in four games.2000 Atlanta Braves season
The 2000 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 35th season in Atlanta along with the 125th season in the National League and 130th overall. The Braves won their ninth consecutive division title, however, the 2000 season would mark the first time since 1990 that the Braves did not appear in the National League Championship Series. One of the highlights of the season was that the All-Star Game was held at Turner Field in Atlanta.2001 Atlanta Braves season
The 2001 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 36th season in Atlanta and 131st overall. The Braves won their tenth consecutive division title. The season saw the team finish first in the NL East Division with an 88-74 record – the worst among playoff teams in 2001, and also the worst record for the Braves since 1990 (meaning the worst record through their run of 14 consecutive division titles starting in 1991. Not counting the strike-shortened 1994 season). Atlanta finished the season with just a 2 game division lead over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Braves swept the favored Houston Astros in the NLDS before losing to the eventual World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS 4-1, in which Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling notably dominated Atlanta's offense.2003 Atlanta Braves season
The 2003 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 38th season in Atlanta and 133rd overall. The Braves won their 12th consecutive division title, finishing 10 games ahead of the second-place Florida Marlins. The Braves lost the 2003 Divisional Series to the Chicago Cubs, 3 games to 2. The Braves finished 2003 with their best offensive season in franchise history, hitting a franchise record 235 home runs. Atlanta also had one of the most noteworthy combined offensive outfield productions in league history.
The Braves' starting rotation had new faces in 2003, but aged pitchers. Opposite of what they were traditionally known for in years earlier. Greg Maddux was joined by trade acquisitions Mike Hampton and Russ Ortiz, free agent Shane Reynolds and rookie Horacio Ramírez. Critics noted had Atlanta had a younger staff with this offense, they would've been more likely to win the World Series. Marcus Giles had an All-Star season as the Braves' second baseman and Gary Sheffield as the Braves' right fielder. Sheffield finished with a top 5 voting in NL MVP voting. 2003 also marked the last season for Maddux, ending his tenure in Atlanta after 11 seasons.Big Three (Atlanta Braves)
The Big Three was a trio of Major League Baseball starting pitchers for the Atlanta Braves from 1993-2002 which consisted of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz. The Big Three combined to win six National League Cy Young Awards in the 1990s and helped lead the Atlanta Braves to a 1995 World Series win. Each member of the Big Three has had their jersey retired by the Atlanta Braves and has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.Bob Rush (baseball)
Robert Ransom Rush (December 21, 1925 – March 19, 2011) was a professional baseball player who pitched in Major League Baseball from 1948 to 1960.
Rush played for the Milwaukee Braves, Chicago Cubs, and the Chicago White Sox.
On June 11, 1950, Rush and pitcher Warren Spahn of the Braves each stole a base against each other; no opposing pitchers again stole a base in the same game until May 3, 2004, when Jason Marquis and Greg Maddux repeated the feat.Rush was an All-Star selection in 1950 and 1952.
He was the Milwaukee starting pitcher for Game 3 of the 1958 World Series. Rush gave the Braves six strong innings, allowing the New York Yankees only three hits. But control problems proved costly, Rush's three walks loading the bases for Hank Bauer's two-run single. Those were all the runs Yankee starter Don Larsen needed in a 4-0 win.
Rush was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, and died in Mesa, Arizona.Control pitcher
In baseball, a control pitcher, also known as a finesse pitcher, is a pitcher who succeeds mostly by using accurate pitches, as opposed to a power pitcher who relies on velocity. By issuing a below average number of bases on balls he exhibits good control of his pitches. Pitchers with good control are said to be able to throw all the pitches in their repertoire for strikes in different locations regardless of the batter, count and score. According to Curt Schilling, "Control is the ability to throw strikes, and command is the ability to throw quality strikes." Another definition of control is "The ability to deliver the ball to the plate with accuracy." The best control pitchers will walk as few as one batter per game. Control is also key to getting ahead in the count, and thus gaining the advantage over batters to keep them off base. Statistics used to measure control include:
Walks per nine innings
Strikeout-to-walk ratioControl pitchers, who succeed by avoiding surrendering walks, are different from power pitchers who succeed by striking out batters and keeping the ball out of play.
Three of the most famous examples of control pitchers in the history of baseball are Christy Mathewson, Ferguson Jenkins, and Greg Maddux, though Maddux and Jenkins have also had significant strikeout totals (they are members of the 3,000 strikeout club) because of their ability to change speeds and the deceptive nature of their pitches.Cy Young Award
The Cy Young Award is given annually to the best pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB), one each for the American League (AL) and National League (NL). The award was first introduced in 1956 by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who died in 1955. The award was originally given to the single best pitcher in the major leagues, but in 1967, after the retirement of Frick, the award was given to one pitcher in each league.Each league's award is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, with one representative from each team. As of the 2010 season, each voter places a vote for first, second, third, fourth and fifth place among the pitchers of each league. The formula used to calculate the final scores is a weighted sum of the votes. The pitcher with the highest score in each league wins the award. If two pitchers receive the same number of votes, the award is shared. The current formula started in the 2010 season. Before that, dating back to 1970, writers voted for three pitchers, with the formula of 5 points for a first place vote, 3 for a second place vote and 1 for a third place vote. Prior to 1970, writers only voted for the best pitcher and used a formula of one point per vote.List of Atlanta Braves Opening Day starting pitchers
The Atlanta Braves are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Atlanta. They play in the National League East division. They were based in Milwaukee and Boston before moving to Atlanta for the 1966 season. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day. The Atlanta Braves have used 19 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 47 seasons in Atlanta. The 19 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 14 wins, 20 losses and 13 no decisions. No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game.Hall of Famer Phil Niekro holds the Atlanta Braves' record for most Opening Day starts, with eight. He has a record in Opening Day starts for the Braves of no wins and six losses with two no decisions. Greg Maddux had seven Opening Day starts for the team and Rick Mahler had five. Tom Glavine and John Smoltz have each made four Opening Day starts for the Braves. Maddux has the record for most wins in Atlanta Braves Opening Day starts, with five. Mahler has the highest winning percentage in Opening Day starts (1.000), with four wins and no losses with one no decision. All of Mahler's four victories were shutouts, including three in consecutive years (1985 to 1987) by identical scores of 6–0. Niekro has the record for most losses in Atlanta Braves Opening Day starts, with six.From 1972 through 1980, the Braves lost nine consecutive Opening Day games. In those games, their starting pitchers had a record of no wins, six losses and three no decisions. Niekro had five of the losses during this streak, and Carl Morton had the other. Morton, Gary Gentry and Andy Messersmith had no decisions during the streak. One of the most famous Opening Day games in baseball history occurred during this stretch. That was the game on April 4, 1974, against the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium, when Hank Aaron hit his 714th career home run to tie Babe Ruth's all-time record. Carl Morton was Atlanta's starting pitcher for that game, and received a no decision.Overall, Atlanta Braves Opening Day starting pitchers have a record of 4–5 with four no decisions at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, their original home ball park in Atlanta and a 3–3 record with three no decisions at their second home park in Atlanta, Turner Field. The Braves have yet to open a season at their current home of SunTrust Park, which opened for the 2017 season; the first regular-season game at SunTrust Park was the Braves' ninth of the 2017 season. This gives the Atlanta Braves' Opening Day starting pitchers a combined home record 7–8 with five no decisions. Their away record is 7–12 with eight no decisions. The Braves went on to play in the World Series in 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 1999, and won the 1995 World Series championship games. John Smoltz was the Opening Day starting pitcher in 1991, Tom Glavine in 1992 and 1999, and Greg Maddux in 1995 and 1996. They had a combined Opening Day record of 3–2 in years that the Atlanta Braves played in the World Series.List of Gold Glove Award winners at pitcher
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), as voted by the managers and coaches in each league. Managers are not permitted to vote for their own players. Eighteen Gold Gloves are awarded each year (with the exception of 1957, 1985, 2007 and 2018), one at each of the nine positions in each league. In 1957, the baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings created the Gold Glove Award to commemorate the best fielding performance at each position. The award was created from a glove made from gold lamé-tanned leather and affixed to a walnut base. Initially, only one Gold Glove per position was awarded to the top fielder at each position in the entire league; however, separate awards were given for the National and American Leagues beginning in 1958.Greg Maddux has won the most Gold Glove Awards among all players, including pitchers, in Major League Baseball history. He won 18 awards, all in the National League; his streak of wins was consecutive from 1990 through 2002 until interrupted by Mike Hampton in 2003. Maddux won five more awards from 2004 to 2008, after which he retired. Jim Kaat is second and held the record for most wins (16) until he was displaced by Maddux in 2007. He won 14 awards in the American League and 2 in the National League; his 16 consecutive awards is a record among winners. Bob Gibson won nine Gold Gloves with the St. Louis Cardinals, and the inaugural winner Bobby Shantz won four awards in each league, for a total of eight. Mark Langston and Mike Mussina are tied for the fifth-highest total, with seven wins each. Five-time awardees include Ron Guidry, Phil Niekro, and Kenny Rogers; Jim Palmer won four times. Gold Glove winners at pitcher who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame include Gibson, Palmer, and Niekro.Maddux made the most putouts in a season (39) three times in his career (1990, 1991, and 1993). The American League leader is Frank Lary, who made 32 putouts for the Detroit Tigers in 1961. Kaat is the leader in assists; he made 72 with the Minnesota Twins in 1962. The National League leader, Maddux, trails him by one (71 assists in 1996). Many pitchers have posted errorless seasons and 1.000 fielding percentages in their winning seasons; Mussina is the leader with four perfect seasons in the field. Guidry (1982–1984) and Mussina (1996–1998) both accomplished the feat in three consecutive seasons. The most double plays turned by a winning pitcher is nine, accomplished by Maddux in 2006. Four pitchers have also thrown no wild pitches in a winning season: Maddux (1997, 2006), Kaat (1975), Shantz (1961, 1962), and Rogers (2005). In contrast, the most wild pitches in a winning season is 18, by the knuckleballing Niekro. The fewest balks in a winning season is zero, achieved many times, but Maddux accomplished the feat the most time in his wins (12 balk-free seasons in 18 years). The most balks in a winning season is five, by Mike Norris in 1981 and Orel Hershiser in 1988. Langston picked off the most runners from the pitcher's mound in a winning season, with 10 in 1993; four pitchers are tied for the National League lead with 5 pickoffs. Rogers posted both the highest (100% in 2002) and lowest (0% in 2005) caught stealing percentage in a winning season. Shantz' 1961 season tied Rogers' 0% mark for lowest percentage caught, and three pitchers are tied for the National League lead (67% caught).List of Major League Baseball career games started leaders
In baseball statistics, a pitcher is credited with a game started (denoted by GS) if he is the first pitcher to pitch for his team in a game.
Cy Young holds the Major League Baseball games started record with 815; Nolan Ryan is second with 773. Young is the only pitcher in MLB history to start more than 800 career games. Nolan Ryan (773), Don Sutton (756), Greg Maddux (740), Phil Niekro (716), Steve Carlton (709), Roger Clemens (707), and Tommy John (700) are the only other pitches to have started 700 or more games their career.List of Major League Baseball career putouts as a pitcher leaders
In baseball statistics, a putout (denoted by PO or fly out when appropriate) is given to a defensive player who records an out by a Tagging a runner with the ball when he is not touching a base (a tagout), catching a batted or thrown ball and tagging a base to put out a batter or runner (a Force out), catching a thrown ball and tagging a base to record an out on an appeal play, catching a third strike (a strikeout), catching a batted ball on the fly (a flyout), or being positioned closest to a runner called out for interference.
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. The pitcher is often considered the most important defensive player, and as such is situated at the right end of the defensive spectrum. There are many different types of pitchers, such as the starting pitcher, relief pitcher, middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and closer.
Greg Maddux is the all-time leader in putouts by a pitcher with 546 career. Maddux is the only pitcher to record more than 400 and 500 career putouts.Major League Baseball Pitcher of the Month Award
The Pitcher of the Month award is a Major League Baseball award named by each league for each month of the regular season. The National League started recognizing the award in 1975. The American League followed in 1979. Upon the introduction of each league's award, pitchers became ineligible for the (position players') player of the month award.Rawlings Gold Glove Award
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as simply the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), as voted by the managers and coaches in each league. It is also awarded to women fastpitch softball players in the National Pro Fastpitch as of 2016. Managers are not permitted to vote for their own players. Additionally, a sabermetric component provided by Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) accounts for approximately 25 percent of the vote. Eighteen Gold Gloves are awarded each year (with the exception of 1957, 1985, 2007, and 2018), one at each of the nine positions in each league. In 1957, the baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings created the Gold Glove Award to commemorate the best fielding performance at each position. The award was created from a glove made from gold lamé-tanned leather and affixed to a walnut base. Initially, only one Gold Glove per position was awarded to the top fielder at each position in Major League Baseball; however, separate awards were given for the National and American Leagues beginning in 1958.