Greg Maddux Easily Finesses His Way Into Cooperstown


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There are not too many sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famers in baseball. However, there was very little doubt that Greg Maddux, one of the best if not the best pitcher of his generation, would be granted access to sport's most prestigious Hall on his first try. The only question would be whether or not he would receive an unheard of 100% of the vote.

Maddux didn't get every single possible vote, but he came close at 97.2%. The right-hander compiled a staggering 355 wins and a paltry 3.16 lifetime ERA over his 23 year career.

What made Maddux one of the most dominant pitcher's of the last century was not his frame or height, in fact he was only about 170 pounds and six feet tall. Nor, was it his ability to throw 100 mph. He rarely threw over 90. What made Maddux great was his ability to hit the corners of the plate, force a hitter to swing at bad pitches and move the ball around with great accuracy and pinpoint control. He was a student of the game, going to incredible lengths to study a hitter's weakness. In fact, he was so keen on deconstructing how to get outs that he was nicknamed "The Professor."

The cerebral Maddux won four consecutive Cy Young Awards from 1992-1995. He finished the 1990s with the most wins of any pitcher. What makes his stats even more impressive is that he compiled those historic numbers during the Steroid Era of baseball when offensive numbers took over and hitters were bigger and stronger than ever.

In a storybook-type ending, Maddux will enter the Hall with his friend and long-time teammate, Tom Glavine. Both pitchers won a championship with the Atlanta Braves in 1995. Glavine, much like Maddux, was also a control, finesse-type pitcher. The southpaw received an impressive 91.9% of the vote. Their old Atlanta teammate John Smoltz should join them next year when he is eligible for Cooperstown and three of the best pitchers in the last 50 years will be together again.

Big-time slugger Frank Thomas was also elected with 83.7% of the vote. Known as "The Big Hurt," the White Sox homerun king also made it into Cooperstown in his first year of Hall eligibility. In a heart-breaker, Craig Biggio fell just two votes short at 74.8%. A player needs 75% of the vote to make it in. However, Biggio had over 3,000 hits which is a benchmark for the Hall of the Fame, so in his situation it should be just a matter of time.

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