Tuesday, April 15, 2008

#361 Greg Maddux



Why this card is awesome: Because it's easy to imagine what Topps what thinking when they gave him a crappy card number like #361. They just put superstar Tony Gwynn at #360 so they needed a scrub to put next. Maddux spent parts of 1986 and 1987 in the bigs with the Cubs and pitched poorly. Sure, he was just 21 at this point, but it didn't seem likely he would amount to anything. Umm....wrong.

That's two superstar cards in a row!

Cool stat: Check this out. At the moment, Maddux is 348-214 in his career, a .619 W-L%. That's good for 9th in career wins, and 10th all-time in W-L% among pitchers with at least 400 decisions. What do you think Maddux's record would be if we neutralized it on B-R.com? He's played mostly for winning teams, so you'd expect it to fall closer to .500, right? Wrong. His neutralized stats are 363-195, a .651 W-L%, and he'd have 7 different 20-win seasons, including 28-4 in 1994. And it's easy to forget, but this guy won 4 Cy Young awards in a row from 1992 to 1995, including the last 2 unanimously. Wow. (Note: Clemens Maddux won another game after I wrote the above paragraph a few days ago.)

We can't officially add to our Hall of Fame count, but Maddux might be the first unanimous selection when he comes up for election around 2014 or 2015. With Roger Clemens being tainted by both alleged PED use and the ridiculous way in which he responded to the allegations, Maddux is now cemented as the best pitcher of the last 40 years.

15 comments:

Jim said...

Somebody won't vote for him for the HOF just so he isn't the first unanimous selection. That voter will say, "he didn't throw hard enough"

Andy said...

Undoubtedly, you're right. But that voter is on crack.

MMayes said...

I watched a show in the late 80's from Chicago called "The Reporters" where Rick Telander and a couple of other older sportswriters sat around and talked. One, talking about the HOF, said he NEVER voted for anyone on the first ballot. Unfortunately he's not the only one.

I'd like to see Greg Maddux pitching until he's 50. The only thing that would stop him is will.

Jim said...

Hopefully all the old codger sportswriters will have been gone by the time MAddux comes up. I thought Ripken could be 100%, I mean who didn'y like CAL?

jswaykos said...

If someone did that, it'd potentially end the "greatest pitcher/batter/etc" argument once and for all.

Meaning the talking heads would have to come up with new material for lame countdown shows and the likes. We wouldn't want that now, would we?

Andy said...

Geez, just noticed that I wrote Clemens above where I meant to say Maddux.

Ben Henry said...

About the checklist #: Maddux didn't have a breakout year until 1988 (he went 6-14 in 1987), so therefore wasn't worthy of a better checklist number. This is also his first regular-issue Topps card. Topps seemed to have a system of 'rewarding' a player with a better number only after three or four years of good play. There are exceptions to this rule, like Bo Jackson and Barry Bonds, to name two of Maddux's contemporaries.

Andy said...

No kidding, Ben? The last couple of hundred posts I made make frequent reference to this system. And why did you never answer my email about the APAD contributor request?

David said...

jim, Cal has the lowest AVG and OBP of any member of the 3,000 hit club. I wouldn't say he was deserving of the 3rd highest HOF vote total.

Jim said...

David, I don't think Cal is the greatest player (or even close) all time, just that I can't see anyone thinking he is not a HOFer. Therefore I always thought he could be the first ever 100% guy, because he was so popular + all the stats, consec. games played, WS title, MVP, ROY, etc.

Uglee Card said...

I was lucky enough to go to the 2006 game in Wrigley when Clemens and Maddux faced each other. Maddux got nine guys to line out to him. Clemens got the win.
I am a lucky human being.

thewritersjourney said...

Best pitcher of the last 40 years? That would take us back to 1968...is Gibson better? My opinion is no...so I think Maddux is the best of the past 50...60...maybe even more...years.

I say we re-name the "Cy Young" award to the "Greg Maddux" award. And don't even wait 'til he retires. Do it now. Maybe that's what we'll call it on Baseball Legends.

Cannonball said...

I went to the first-ever Maddux-Clemens matchup. It was an 11-7 game, and I think that the pitchers of record were Mike Remlinger and Jason Grimsley.

indefenseofabsurdity said...

Came back here due to this card's inclusion in the "best card poll."
On further reflection, I don't think that #361 is so bad of a number. It has "61" in it, which was (and to some extent, still is) a magical number in baseball history. Also, 361 was the number of home runs that Joe Dimaggio hit in his career, so it's got that going for it.
It might be grasping at straws, but I think they're fairly high quality straws.

Andy said...

Super high-quality straws indeed.