Reusse: In Maddux, we saw a master at work

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2014 - 12:38 AM

The 1996 playoffs showed how the Braves ace — and new Hall of Famer — could dominate with efficiency.

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goldengoph3rJan. 8, 1411:18 PM

Total agreement, Patrick. There have been harder throwers but Maddux was the best "pitcher" I've ever watched.

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bs6699Jan. 8, 1411:31 PM

I remember reading that Maddux's father was a vegas poker dealer, and about his own acumen at serving up pitches hitters were never ready for. He had no velocity, and not the greatest stuff, but was maybe the best dart-thrower in the league. This, coupled with smarts, kept them baffled for over 20 years. You don't see many pitchers winning on pure guile anymore.

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rms316Jan. 9, 14 6:25 AM

Best pitcher I've ever seen. They didn't pull him in the 7th for the set up guy. He never had to worry about pitch count… he got a lot of calls.

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JPetersen3Jan. 9, 14 6:29 AM

rms316: I think Maddux was the pitchers' version of Ted Williams. Umpires gave him the benefit of the doubt because he was always around the strike zone.

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larrymickJan. 9, 14 7:00 AM

rms316, jpeterson3 - if you show the umpire that you can throw the ball where you want and are around the strike zone, you will get the borderline calls. Some of today's pitchers don't get that. They complain when an umpire misses a close pitch but those pitches are more by accident than by design. Best story I heard about Maddux is when he walked a dangerous hitter with runners at first and second. I believe the pitching coach came out and asked him if he was getting tired since he walked the guy. Maddux replied that he walked him semi on purpose because he had a base, third, open. Then got the next guy out. Classic pitcher.

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redeye12Jan. 9, 14 7:43 AM

Maddox was a classic example of a control pitcher. He never blew anybody away. But let's be honest. If the umpires called the strike zone as it was designed, Maddox wouldn't be in the HOF. I don't recall any modern pitcher getting more balls off the plate called strikes than Maddox.

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ollie3Jan. 9, 14 9:08 AM

Yeah, Maddux got some calls that he shoudlnt have....but he had to earn that reputation as a top pitcher first, umps didnt just pick his name out of a hat and say 'hey, let's conspire to turn this one guy into a star.' May as well say MJ or LeBron aren't legit HoFers because of the favorable calls they've gotten.

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jastkeJan. 9, 14 9:24 AM

Agree that Maddux got a lot of called strikes that weren't in the strike zone, especially later in his career. And don't think he didn't know that and exploit it. He had the smarts to know where to put a pitch that would get him a call when he needed it and the control to put it there.

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sbuzz16Jan. 9, 14 9:30 AM

Maddox, like Glavine, were masters at consistently working the outer edges of the plate which widened the strike zone. Throw in Smoltz and you probably have the best rotation ever.

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rms316Jan. 9, 1410:16 AM

When he was on TV, barring anything my wife wanted me to do, I'd watch an entire game pitched by Maddux. Only a handful of times I could watch an entire game but watching him pitch was like a painter on canvas.

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