Most fans and baseball writers surely expected Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux‘s plaque to feature an Atlanta Braves logo, the team with which he spent 11 seasons, won three Cy Young Awards, and captured the 1995 World Series.
But in a bit of surprise Maddux decided to go with no logo at all.
Here’s how he explained the decision:
“My wife Kathy and I grew up in baseball in Chicago, and then we had just an amazing experience in Atlanta with the Braves. It’s impossible for me to choose one of those teams for my Hall of Fame plaque, as the fans of both clubs in each of those cities were so wonderful. I can’t think of having my Hall of Fame induction without support of both of those fan bases, so, for that reason, the cap on my Hall of Fame plaque will not feature a logo.”
Maddux’s decision was obviously as a surprise to some, but having spent a decade with the Cubs in his career, it isn’t all that shocking that the pitcher had conflicted feelings about which team to represent in Cooperstown.
It is a thoughtful & nuanced move from a pitcher who is widely thought of as the best “thinking man’s pitcher” the game has ever seen.
On a more personal note, Maddux will go down as one of my favorite players of all-time.
I have watched about a dozen no-no’s/perfect games over my life time but none of them will ever top his 76 pitch complete game shutout in July of 1997 (ironically enough, versus the Cubs).
He gave up 5 hits and only struckout 6 batters, but he was in complete control of the game, from start to finish, consistently missing the fat part of the bat and inducing weak ass grounder after weak ass grounder.
It was pure genius & I, for one, am glad that I was fortunate enough to witness it.
Independent coach Paul Reddick helps hurlers throw harder and stay healthier. He has scouted for the Pirates and written books with ex-big leaguer and biomechanics guru Tom House. The Mag asked Reddick to compare the flawed delivery of Stephen Strasburg with the model motion of retired legend Greg Maddux.
“Maddux’s lift is very efficient. It brings him only forward. His front shoulder is directly in line with home plate” — denoted above by the dotted blue line. “Strasburg has negative movement toward home plate. He overrotates toward second base; his knee has passed his belly button. Now he has to stop all that energy going back and regenerate it to come forward. He’ll never overcome that wasted movement and misdirection.”
“Maddux’s spine is straighter; he’s stable on his back leg with his head and spine over his center of gravity. Strasburg’s spine is at 11 o’clock, and his back leg is straight. He’s striding too far toward the righthand batter’s box. He then has to literally fight across his body toward home plate. He’s out of sequence: His shoulders are already pinching back to throw, but his front foot hasn’t yet hit the ground.”
“Maddux’s lower half is still tracking toward home plate. His arm remains back as his hips begin to turn. This is the classic torque position. Strasburg’s misdirected stride, mirrored in the tilt of his head” — and reflected by his distance from the blue line — “inhibits his hip rotation. He’ll never harness torque as easily as Maddux and will have to strain his upper half to finally face home, which increases the stress on his arm.”
“The position of Maddux’s chest shows how much farther he is toward the plate. His elbows are in front of his body in a position of strength, with good glove position in front of his knee. Strasburg’s elbows are passing behind his body. This is a weak position, and he’s working to overcompensate for his lower half’s poor position. He’s also pulled his glove back to help him square toward home. A sloppy glove is a sign of sloppy direction.”
“Maddux’s head and shoulders are almost still in line with home plate” — and the blue line. “Strasburg is now leaning way to the left because he’s swung over to compensate for veering too far to the right early on. And he’s still not on target for home. The follow-through is a byproduct of everything that happened before. You can’t have bad mechanics and a good follow-through, and you can’t teach a good follow-through.”