Morning Chop: A Summary of Atlanta Braves’ News
As Greg Maddux Stories Go, This Is A Hard One To Top
When Greg Maddux was elected to the Hall of Fame today (thanks in part to you!!) the news was less that he’d made it, but that someone hadn’t voted for him. We’re in the second wave now: Maddux stories. Like his arm, they’re better than most.
Ley got us started with an anecdote he pulled from a Yahoo column, about what a control freak Maddux was. That reminded me of a 1995 Sports Illustrated piece about Maddux’s uncanny combination of fastidious study and instant observation. Tom Verducci, take it away, dated references and all:
What sets Maddux apart is an analytical, Pentium-quick mind that constantly processes information no one else sees. At home in Las Vegas he is a formidable poker player, detecting when an opponent has a good hand by the way he strokes his chin or suddenly stops fiddling with his chips. Maddux uses a numerical system in his head that tells him when to stand and when to hit at the blackjack table. But he is even better at analyzing hitters—so good that four times this year, while seated next to Smoltz in the dugout, he has warned, “This guy’s going to hit a foul ball in here.” Three of those times a foul came screeching into the dugout.
Maddux calls election ‘an honor and a privilege’
ATLANTA — If there was any suspense surrounding Greg Maddux’s candidacy as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, it died on Tuesday afternoon, when it was confirmed that he would not be the first player to gain election in unanimous fashion.
The only lingering question centered on the possibility that he could gain a larger percentage of votes than any player in the history of Hall of Fame balloting.
Though he fell short of gaining this distinction, there was still a definite sense of excitement radiating from Maddux on Wednesday after he learned that he, his longtime Atlanta teammate Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.
“It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be inducted to the Hall of Fame,” Maddux said. “It’s exciting for me to go in with my teammate Tom Glavine as well as Frank Thomas. I’m just looking forward to the experience down the road.”
Tom Glavine is still No. 2 to Greg Maddux, but he’s a worthy Hall of Famer just the same
There might just be a Tomahawk Chop chant on Hall of Fame induction day. The 2014 class will include three greats from the Atlanta Braves of the 1990s — pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, as well as their skipper Bobby Cox.
So much has been made about Maddux and his Hall of Fame case. He was the surest thing on the ballot this year. Cox, meanwhile, was selected by the Veterans Committee in December due to his 2,504 wins as a manager, the fourth-most all time.
And Glavine? Well, there’s no doubt he had a great career, but once again, he finds himself playing the No. 2 role to Maddux. Isn’t that just fitting?
Maddux’s helping of the Hall of Fame vote was a little better than Glavine’s — 97.2 to 91.9 — and rightly so, but the two were atop the Hall of Fame’s new-inductees list, which also includes slugger Frank Thomas.
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being Maddux’s left-hand man, make no mistake, Glavine’s merits are Hall of Fame-worthy on their own.
Big Unit, Pedro, Smoltz highlight 2015 Hall ballot
The 2015 ballot of candidates for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame will deliver another brushback pitch of reality that an era marked by home runs and slugging really was one flush with great pitching.
In the wake of legendary starters Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine becoming first-year inductees in 2014, next year’s ballot will include another trio of transcendent pitchers who achieved greatness over two decades of play in the Majors — Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz.
Maddux and Glavine once popularized the phrase “Chicks dig the long ball” in a TV ad, a playful poke at the attention heaped upon the game’s home run hitters. Turns out, history digs pitching, and the mound will be the focus of the 2015 ballot with such an accomplished trio as Big Unit, Pedro and Smoltzie.
Minor Moves: Tateyama, Severino, Wimberly, Indians
- Left-hander Atahualpa Severino has inked a minor league deal with the Braves. As Eddy notes, the 29-year-old held opposing left-handers to a .171/.234/.271 batting line while striking out 27.3 percent and walking 6.5 percent of the 77 he faced last year. He split the season between the Triple-A affiliates for the Pirates and Royals, posting a combined 3.60 ERA.