Results tagged ‘ Greg Maddux ’
Continuing the intensive interview process to find the next manager, the Cubs talked to current Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux over the last two days. The elder brother of former Cubs pitcher Greg then fielded questions from the media about family, key decisions facing the club and working with the new front office. Click the image above for another Vine Line video inside the manager search, and subscribe for your insider’s pass to the new era at Wrigley Field.
MESA, Ariz.–In 1987, after Andre Dawson got plunked by the Padres’ Eric Show, a young Greg Maddux was told not to retaliate. If he did, he’d be on the first bus back to Triple A.
Still just trying earn his keep at the big-league level, Maddux did not heed those words and uncorked a fastball at Benito Santiago. He wasn’t sent down right away, but he did earn respect.
“It’s all about the team,” he told me, when recalling that story a couple of years ago.
On Monday, the man who probably will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball history took his turn….throwing batting practice.
It was very non-descript. I’m not sure anyone else saw it. And in his illustrious career, it was the FIRST time he had ever done it. He’s thrown BP to his kids before, but all these years he’s been in camp as a player and never done it.
In the cage were three young catchers–Robinson Chrinios, Blake Lalli and Steve Clevenger. All three probably hadn’t been born or at least were toddlers when Maddux plunked that guy nearly 23 years ago.
There might be a little paunch to his middle these days, but excuse the guy for enjoying himself a little after spending more than two decades winning 355 games, throwing over 5,000 innings and striking out 3,371 men.
“The game gave me more than I could ever want or ever hope for,” Maddux said. “It’s just nice to be back in it and try and give back and help the players and team. That’s what it’s all about. You help the players, hopefully the team wins more games.”
He was huffing and puffing a little bit out there. “Yeah, throwing BP let’s you know how out of shape you are,” he laughed. “It’s OK for the first 10 minutes, then toward the end you’re sucking wind.”
After the session was over I spied Clevenger packing up his bat and helmet. It was then he gave a quick glance out to the mound. While Maddux was picking up balls–just like any other guy–Clevenger shook his head and smiled a big ol’ grin as if to say, “Man, that was pretty cool. I hit BP off of Greg Maddux.”
“Well, hopefully these young guys realize they are good enough to be in the big leagues,” Maddux said. “I hope they understand to work hard to be successful. Because what this game can do for you and your family is incredible, so they should take advantage of that.”
NOTES FROM THE DAY 2:
– Carlos Silva pitched for the first time. He looked decent. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild encouraged him to drive more off his back leg.
– Geovany Soto returned to action, looking fit and solid.
– During double play drills and infield practice, it was amazing to see how smooth Andres Blanco is at shortstop.
– Rookie Starlin Castro looked good during live BP, raking several John Grabow offerings into left field. Line drives, not flyballs, mind you.
– Xavier Nady sat out outfield cutoff drills because of his arm, on which he had Tommy John surgery last year. He stood next to manager Lou Piniella, talking about angles of pursuit.
– It was the “Carlos Show” with Silva and both Zambrano and Marmol throwing live BP. Both looked good, throwing hard and crisp.
Vine Line subscribers will read more of this Greg Maddux interview in the coming months in Vine Line and its new landing page on cubs.com, soon to debut this month.The page will include stories from the current month’s issue, a photo gallery from Steve Green and video from spring training and Wrigley Field, during the season.
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“We couldn’t be happier,” said Cubs GM Jim Hendry, announcing the return of Hall of Famer Greg Maddux to the Cubs. Except this time, “Mad Dog” will be barking up a new tree.
Maddux was named a special assistant to the general manager today and is set to take on three roles within the organization: working with coaches during spring training, aiding the in-season development of Cubs minor-leaguers, and evaluating talent for the baseball operations staff.
“He’ll certainly be involved in all aspects of the baseball operations department,” Hendry said. “As I’ve always said about him in the past, as a player and now as an employee, when Greg Maddux walks in your front door, your organization became a lot better that day.”
The eighth-winningest pitcher in baseball history with 355 victories, Maddux was drafted by the Cubs in the second round of the 1984 draft. He went 133-112 with a 3.61 ERA during his two stints with the Cubs, from 1986-92 and 2004-06.
Now he gets to return to the organization, continuing his demonstrated ability to instruct and mentor players. He also is ready to take on a new challenge.
“I’ll learn how to evaluate players the best I can,” Maddux said. “I’m sure there’s a system that goes along with that. Hopefully, I’ll have an eye for it and will be able to evaluate players properly.”
Hendry’s strong relationship with Maddux paid off in bringing the Las Vegas resident back to Chicago.
“I’m looking forward to getting back with [Hendry] and working with him and learning from him and the people around him, and doing what I can to help the players on the field and the organization,” Maddux said.
– Sean Ahmed
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Wrigley Field is abuzz with the presence of one current Hall of Famer, Fergie Jenkins, and one sure-fire future one, Greg Maddux. Their uniform No. 31 will be retired in a pregame ceremony starting at 12:40 p.m.
Right-hander Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 6.92 ERA) pitches for the Marlins.
If you’ll be at the ballpark on Sunday, make sure you grab your Scorecard EXTRA early. Check out this sneak peak from our head designer, Juan Castillo. He put together this commemorative scorecard cover for the Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux No. 31 jersey retirement.
Not only will it be a great collector’s item, but there also are some neat stories on the two inside the wrap. The feature article — “A tale of two No. 31s” – illustrates how appropriate it is that Jenkins’ and Maddux’s separate paths will intersect this weekend.
Wrigley fun run
A couple dozen of us from the front office represented the Cubs at Saturday’s Race to Wrigley 5K. Congrats to our community affairs department for selling out the event, with 6,500 participants in all.
Eamonn Prizy, 18, was the fastest male runner (16:10), and Kelly Shuma, 24, led all women. Good weather, great turnout and some fantastic Cubs spirit for an event that will benefit Chicago Cubs Charities.
I was looking through photos from our opening homestand today, and I found this one of Ryan Theriot in front of a new amenity in the Wrigley Field home dugout. No more big orange jug! Though that might make it difficult for the players to do a celebratory Gatorate dump over Lou’s head …
– Sean Ahmed
One of the best pitchers ever to step on a mound retired today. Greg Maddux called it a career today. His brother Mike might have been the older more scouted player out of high school, but Greg was the one for whom his father said to a bevy scouts watching Mike: “You’ll be back for my little one in a couple of years.”
The thing I remember most about Maddux while he was in his second tour with the team was you never knew exactly whether he was being straight with you or messing with you. During interviews, he had a small smirk, but I couldn’t tell if he was nearly ready to bust out laughing because I was eating up everything he said, or if he simply was enjoying the conversation.
He kept you guessing by the look on his face and his demeanor–completely neutral, no expression of emotion. Perhaps that’s why he was a scratch golfer. Perhaps that’s why he was the one guy Ryan Dempster said DO NOT play cards with or else you’ll lose your shirt (forget the fact he was from Las Vegas). Maddux looks indifferent to everything, and only allowed an occasional outburst on the mound when he gave up a home run. That was it.
Perhaps that’s why he was one of the best. Good luck “Mad Dog.” It was a pleasure watching you pitch.
The following “Leading Off” column was written in 2004, shortly after Greg Maddux made his first attempt at winning his 300th game.
– Michael Huang
It’s all about the team
In early July, hours before an anxious crowd would file into the cavernous confines of Miller Park, all that could be heard were the echoes of horsehide hitting Northern White Ash.
Watching the Brewers take infield practice, Greg Maddux sat in the visitors’ dugout talking to a couple of reporters. Walking by the dugout was Brewers third baseman Wes Helms, with whom Maddux had been teammates in Atlanta. Maddux immediately halted his answer in mid-sentence.
“How are you, Wesley?” Maddux inquired. Helms nodded in respect, then continued on.
“Good kid. I wish they could have made some room for him in Atlanta.”
About a month later, on Aug. 1, 2004, Maddux made his first attempt at becoming the 22nd pitcher in baseball history to record career win No. 300. Quiet and unassuming, Maddux has fashioned a Hall of Fame career underscored by understatement because that’s the way he likes it. As win No. 300 loomed, he said: “We’ve got more things to worry about besides No. 300. The post-season means more than my 300th win.”
Perhaps it was only fitting then, with Maddux on the cusp of baseball history, his news took a back seat. A day earlier, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry had engineered a blockbuster trade bringing five-time All-Star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra from Fenway Park to Wrigley Field. Even Garciaparra had to remind the media besieging him that there still was another story.
“I think [Maddux's 300th] should be the focus of today, more than anything,” Garciaparra demurred. “I felt bad coming in. There’s a bigger issue here.”
And to anyone else, going for win No. 300 would’ve been a big issue.
To Maddux, it was just another game. “I’m just going to do what I do–go out and pitch and try not to get caught up in it.”