Greg Maddux headlines 2014 Hall of Fame class

Posted Wednesday, Jan. 08, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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The only drama surrounding Greg Maddux on Wednesday was if he would land on a higher percentage of Hall of Fame ballots than any other player.

He didn’t, as only 97.2 percent of voters from the Baseball Writers Association of America had him on their ballots. Tom Seaver holds the all-time mark of 98.86.

“If you’re in, you’re in, right?” Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, Greg’s older brother, said.

Greg Maddux, a four-time Cy Young winner and a special assistant to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, was one of three players elected for enshrinement into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Former Rangers slugger Rafael Palmeiro, stained by a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, fell off the ballot after receiving only 4.4 percent of the vote. Former Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio missed enshrinement by only two votes.

Maddux, former teammate Tom Glavine and two-time American League MVP Frank Thomas will be inducted July 27 along with managers Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox. Rangers radio voice Eric Nadel will be honored July 26 as the 2014 winner of the Ford C. Frick Award.

But Maddux will be the headliner, and he gets to share the day with Glavine and Cox, his manager in Atlanta.

“What an incredible honor,” Maddux said. “It’s very humbling to go in with these guys. It’s just icing on the cake. It’s going to be a special day, and I’m going to share it with special people.”

Brother Mike will be there. The Rangers play at Yankee Stadium on July 21-24, and he will head a large contingent of club personnel and media on the three-hour drive to Cooperstown.

His brother’s election to the Hall of Fame comes as no surprise. Maddux won 355 games, eighth all-time and the most since Warren Spahn won his 363rd game in 1965, and captured consecutive National League Cy Young awards from 1992-1995.

He won 18 Gold Gloves, the most by any player at any position; finished with a 3.16 ERA and a 132 ERA-plus; and won 15 games in 17 consecutive seasons.

Maddux did it all without a blazing fastball, using pinpoint command and late movement to produce weak contact and quick outs.

“If you do everything mechanically correct, it’s impossible for the ball to not go where you want it to go,” he said. “So it’s just learning to be able to repeat your delivery.”

Since retiring in 2008, Maddux has been a special assistant with the Chicago Cubs, his first major league team, and the Rangers. He will be at spring training alongside his brother for a third straight camp, beginning when pitchers and catchers report Feb. 16.

The Rangers couldn’t be more thrilled just to have an association with Maddux.

“I’m just glad to be able to know and to be able to learn a little bit about baseball and pitching from him,” said left-hander Matt Harrison, who grew up in North Carolina as a Braves fan. “It’s amazing how quick he picks up on things. He sees things other people don’t. That’s a gift. He has more awareness than anyone I’ve ever seen.”

Mike Maddux said that he is more proud of the person his younger brother has become than what he achieved in his 23-year playing career. And if Greg wants to be a full-time pitching coach some day, he would have no problem moving into that position.

“Anything in baseball he would be very good at,” Mike Maddux said. “We probably spend more time together more than ever. Something else is how much we’ve learned from one another and how there are the same values and thought processes. The way he was able to put it on the field was unparalleled to anyone in our era.”

And Greg Maddux will have a Hall of Fame plaque to show for it.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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