Greg Maddux the number two pitcher of all time, it can’t be. He looks like a college professor. However, Maddux is the only pitcher to win 4 Cy Young Awards as the best pitcher in a row. The fact that the award wasn’t invented until the late 1950s shouldn’t diminish this accomplishment too much. He was also fun to watch. He would pitch inside and outside up down but always on the corner of the plate. He had the hitters so confused they would be looking for another ball that moved so much he could get by with a fastball that wasn’t the fastest.
Maddux had a seven-year peak from when he was 26 (in 1992) to 32 in (in 1998). In those years he won his 4 Cy Youngs, the ERA title 4 times (he was always at least 60 percent better than the league averages in those year) and strikeout to walk ratio 3 times. Maddux had great control. He was always in contention for throwing the least pitches in a complete game, which was tracked in this book called “Scoreboard” I would get after each season. Unfortunately, because of poor sales the book was only issued after 12 seasons, but I do have the complete collection.
He is the best pitcher I ever saw pitch in real life. I remember that day as my friend and I were excited that Maddux got the pitch. It was to be a Sunday afternoon game. However, I got a call at one in the morning that a friend I worked with was in a serious car accident and was in a coma. His parents had called me. I called my boss later that morning to let her know what was going on and since I was going to Denver anyway, I would go check at the hospital he was at in Denver. I met my friend and we went to the game, as I figured there wasn’t much else, I could do. The game went fast as Maddux was pitching. He gave up just 2 runs at the old Mile High Stadium and won the game. I went to the hospital, but they wouldn’t let me in to see him. I called his parents and they lied to the hospital saying I was his cousin. I don’t think the hospital believed them but let me in. My friend lived but was in a coma for two months and had to go through a lot of physical and mental rehab before he was released. It just goes to show how fast life can change.
That reminds me I should mention the players I saw in real life when I talk about them. Barry Bonds is the best player I saw play in real life. It was also at the old Mile High stadium. He hit home runs his first two at bats. Then he struck out his next three at bats probably trying to hit another home run. It was a hot day and I was up high in right field. One older gentleman had to be helped as he had a heat stroke near me.
I saw Frank Robinson play when I was a kid in Oakland. It was the first game I went to. The other Right Fielder playing for Oakland in the game was a young Reggie Jackson. So, I started off seeing two pretty good outfielders.
I saw Joe Morgan when he was older with the Oakland As. He was the DH for the game as Davy Lopes played second. They were both older at the time.