Former Atlanta Braves teammates Maddux, Glavine aiming to enter Hall together
No one knew more about pitching.
“Mad Dog” and “Glav” were stalwarts in the Atlanta Braves rotation, a potent 1-2 punch for an entire decade on a team that made the playoffs year after year. Now, they have a chance to come together again for the highest honour of their careers — in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Maddux and Glavine are both eligible for the first time, with the inductees to be announced Wednesday. They hope to join their former manager, Bobby Cox, who was picked for the Hall last month in a separate vote.
“They’re the guys that got me this far, that’s for sure,” Cox said. “I’ve got my fingers crossed for both of them.”
Maddux, Glavine, Thomas, Biggio could gain Hall
Baseball writers could elect a quartet of players to the Hall of Fame for the first time in more than a half-century.
Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas appeared to be on track to gain election from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Wednesday, and Craig Biggio could join them. The last time four players received the required 75 percent was in 1955, when Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons and Dazzy Vance all got in. Surprisingly, it was the third ballot appearance for DiMaggio, who fell 81 votes short in 1953 and 14 shy the following year.
When he announced his retirement in December 2008, Maddux wouldn’t talk about the Hall.
‘‘I think there’s a lot of good players in there,’’ he said. ‘‘Don’t really have any thoughts on it.’’
‘‘I just have just never come across any human being, whether they’re a voter or just a fan, that doesn’t think Greg Maddux is a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest pitchers who ever pitched,’’ The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo said Tuesday. ‘‘I can’t imagine someone not voting for him. So I would guess that he’s going to break Seaver’s record.’’
Greg Maddux credits coaching, great defense for successful career
Among the uncomfortable debates about the steroid era and who should and shouldn’t be elected, there has been something refreshing about having Maddux on the ballot. It gives us a chance to focus on his play on the field and wax poetic about some of the things that make us love baseball in the first place.
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution caught up with Maddux earlier this week. For his part, Maddux deflects any talk about his Hall of Fame resume to the people who were around him during his career. He said the following about his long-time manager Bobby Cox:
I had the privilege of playing with him for 11 years. He certainly taught me an awful lot about the game and how to win and how to prepare, how to play 162 games. I learned oodles from him. And to be able to pitch beside Glavine and watch 35 of his games (annually) for 11 years was special.”
He also went out of his way to credit his defenders:
Having Rafael Furcal and Andruw Jones playing behind you, they covered up a lot of our mistakes. Bobby was excellent at always having good defenders behind his pitchers. If we kept it in the park it seemed like somebody caught it all the time. That was probably one of the biggest reasons.”
Fantasy baseball team report: Atlanta Braves
Who’s Hot: Freddie Freeman broke out in 2013, hitting .319 with 23 homers and 109 RBIs. He actually hit the same amount of homers as ’12, but note that Freeman’s slugging has increased every season to a career-high .501 mark in ’13. … Mike Minor followed up his strong 2012 second half with a great ’13, finishing with a 3.21 ERA in 204.2 innings. He also finished with an 8.0 K/9 and could take another step forward in 2014. … Evan Gattis isn’t going to hit for average, but could slug 25 homers with everyday playing time. Brian McCann is gone, so Gattis should see more time behind the plate, but he could lose some at-bats to new acquisition Ryan Doumit.
Who’s Not: The Uptons. While Justin was merely a disappointment, B.J. was an unmitigated disaster batting just .184 with nine homers and 12 steals in 126 games. There’s bounce-back appeal with both, though. … Speaking of bounce-back candidates, Dan Uggla hit for power (22 homers) but couldn’t even beat B.J. in average, hitting just .179. That’s two straight down years for Uggla. … After a bounce-back ’12 when he hit 27 homers and stole 21 bases, Jason Heyward hit just 14 homers and stole two bases last year. Fantasy owners need to see consistent production before spending a high pick on Heyward’s considerable potential.