Friday, July 25, 2014

The 13 Madduxes of Greg

I introduced the Maddux in one of the very first posts I wrote after starting this blog, having already spent almost 14 years searching for them, first in the box scores of the newspapers delivered to my family's home, and later at various online outlets (Baseball-Reference eventually made finding them easy, which was mostly incredible, but also a little sad, as it sort of ended the great hunt).

That original post has been seen by far more people than anything else I've written, due in large part to Jonah Keri and Craig Calcaterra, each of whom spread it to a far wider audience than I could have on my own. In the more than two years since then, I've written a number of other posts relating to the Maddux (many of which can be found through links in the original post).

One thing I haven't written about during are the 13 Madduxes thrown by Greg himself. He's being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend though, and this seems like as good a time as any to run through his personal collection.

Greg began his MLB career in September of 1986. Pitch count records weren't accurately kept until 1988, which is what I use as the start of the "Maddux Era." Greg made 32 starts before then, and pitched one shutout. It was July 1, 1987 in Montreal against the Expos. Given that he allowed only 4 hits and 1 walk, and recorded only 2 strikeouts, he probably didn't throw many pitches, but I can't know how many for sure, and so his first Maddux would have to wait.

Remember, a Maddux is a complete game shutout on fewer than 100 pitches.

Here are the thirteen:

1. April 29, 1990 (Cubs @ Dodgers): 6 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 96 pitches - Greg's first Maddux was a close call, but of the final eight batters he faced, only two required more than two pitches.

2. October 10, 1991 (Cubs @ Phillies): 3 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts, 89 pitches - Greg had an RBI single in this one, which plated the only run of the game. The man could do it all!

3. August 16, 1992 (Cubs vs. Astros): 4 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 96 pitches - Greg had three sacrifice bunts in this one, and it was one of four times he pitched a Maddux in a 1-0 game.

4. August 15, 1993 (Braves @ Reds): 4 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, 97 pitches - The only one of his Madduxes in which Greg walked more than one batter.

5. August 11, 1994 (Braves @ Rockies): 3 hits, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts, 94 pitches - A 13-0 laugher in which Greg tied his career high with 3 hits. It was also the day before the MLBPA strike began. 

6. June 15, 1995 (Braves @ Expos): 7 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 88 pitches - This is the most hits Greg ever allowed in a Maddux.

7. August 20, 1995 (Braves @ Cardinals): 2 hits, 0 walks, 9 strikeouts, 88 pitches - This is the highest strikeout total of any of Greg's Madduxes.

8. July 2, 1997 (Braves @ Yankees): 3 hits, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts, 84 pitches - This is the fewest pitches Greg ever needed in a Maddux, but there's a game I'll mention below that could have shattered it.

9. April 15, 1998 (Braves vs. Pirates): 6 hits, 0 walks, 5 strikeouts, 91 pitches - Greg was one of the best fielders of any pitcher in history, and this is the only time he made an error in a Maddux.

10. June 7, 1998 (Braves @ Orioles): 4 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 99 pitches - This is the Maddux most dear to my heart, because it's the one I noticed in the newspaper the next morning, inspiring me to coin the term and start looking for other games like it.

11. August 6, 1998 (Braves vs. Reds): 3 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts, 92 pitches - This was Greg's third Maddux of the season, making him one of only two pitchers to do that. (Zane Smith is the other.)

12. September 7, 2000 (Braves vs. Diamondbacks): 4 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts, 89 pitches - Greg knocked in two runs with a double, giving him the only extra-base hit he ever had in a Maddux.

13. September 13, 2000 (Braves vs. Marlins): 4 hits, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts, 89 pitches - This gave Greg a Maddux in back-to-back starts. He's one of only two pitchers to do that. (Bob Tewksbury is the other.)

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A few stats on Greg's Madduxes:

10 of them came with the Braves, 3 with the Cubs.

8 of them came on the road, 5 came at home (1 in Chicago, 4 in Atlanta).

8 of them were at night, 5 during the day.

They came against 12 different teams, with only the Reds victimized twice.

The most common score was 1-0, which happened four times. 13-0 was the widest margin.

Greg allowed an average of 4.08 hits in his Madduxes, and had an average of 5.15 strikeouts.

Greg walked a total of 4 batters and hit a total of 3 in his Madduxes.

Greg threw an average of 91.69 pitches in his Madduxes.

From 1990 to 1995 Greg threw at least one Maddux every year, a streak of 6 consecutive seasons. No other pitcher has thrown one in more than 3 straight.

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I mentioned above that there was a game I'd mention later. Here it is:

Greg's final Maddux came in the year 2000. He came close to another one a handful of times during the final eight years of his career, but it never quite happened. On August 13, 2006 though, it should have. Greg got through 8 shutout innings that day on just 68 pitches. The Dodgers hadn't scored any runs though, and in the bottom of the 8th, Grady Little made what I consider the worst decision of his managerial career, (Pedro Martinez and Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS? ...Never heard of it.) pinch hitting for Maddux. James Loney struck out, and Greg missed out on the opportunity to set a record for fewest pitches in a shutout (which is instead held by Jon Leiber, with 78).
- - -

I will never love another pitcher the way I love Greg Maddux.


9 comments:

  1. I would love to see this become an official stat. Should we petition Baseball-Reference.com? ;)

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    1. That would be awesome. I would also love to know that Greg himself knows about the Maddux.

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  2. Jason: Great post, but may I suggest that you edit to include a definition of a Maddux?

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  3. Great piece, Jason. While reading, I wondered what the breakout of day/night Maddux's was. I also wondered about the day of the week. Just wondering if Greg was more potent in night games or, perhaps, "get away games" had a higher likelihood of a Maddux being pitched.

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    1. Very good though. 8 of them were at night, 5 during the day. Your "getaway game" theory turns out to be spot on, as 11 of his 13 Madduxes came in the final game of a series, whereas with a random distribution you'd expect only 4 or 5 of them to have been the final game.

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  4. Jason, did you forget this Maddux classic: http://articles.latimes.com/1997/jul/23/sports/sp-15312

    JKS21

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  5. Oops!, Sorry, Mad Dog gave up a run. But. still, 78 pitches!

    JKS21

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    1. The one that haunts me is the one mentioned at the end of the post, when he was through 8 shutout innings on just 68 pitches, but was lifted for a pinch hitter (who struck out).

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