Thursday, May 21, 2015

How to Make a Maddux

Master craftsman Greg Maddux retired seven years ago, but his legend lives on with a prestigious accomplishment that bears his name. Throwing a "Maddux" involves a complete game shutout, and a pitch total in the double figures.

The blogger Jason Lukehart coined the term. On his "Ground Ball With Eyes" blog, he writes:
In 1998, I came across a box score for a game in which Maddux had thrown a complete game shutout, and used fewer than 100 pitches. I LOVED it! Ever since then, I've kept my eye out for such games and calling such a pitching line a "Maddux."

Maddux, known as The Professor for his studious approach to pitching, rang up 13 Madduxes in his glorious career, notes Lukehart, who is also managing editor at LetsGoTribe.com. 

In this era of three-hour games, Madduxes are the stuff of games that last two hours or less.

Here's the all-time Maddux leaderboard, led by a mile by, of course, Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.

1. Greg Maddux       13
2. Zane Smith            7
3. Bob Tewksbury     6
t4. Tom Glavine         5
t4. Roy Halladay        5

Lukehart's term has caught on, making him the envy of, oh, every baseball blogger out there. BeyondtheBoxscore.com writes about Henderson Alvarez of the Marlins climbing up the Maddux chart.

The New York Times noted May 9:
Shelby Miller of the Atlanta Braves became the first pitcher with a Maddux this season, using 99 pitches to beat Philadelphia last week. It was the 290th Maddux since 1988.

The phenomenon even has its own hashtag. Tweeted Athletics Nation scribe Jeremy F. Koo (‏@jfkooAN) tweeted earlier this month,  "Jesse Chavez, exactly 77 pitches through 7 innings, no runs allowed. #MadduxAlert." (Alas, Chavez got but one more out that eve, though he did get the win.)

After typing "Maddux" several times in the last few minutes, I'm thinking "Mad Ducks" would make for a cool minor league franchise. That too would be a great way to commemorate the exceptional hurler.

Lukehart tells Batter Chatter (yes, we do a bit of original reporting every now and then) that seeing the "Maddux" catch on in the baseball lexicon has been a "great thrill."
"A lot of credit goes to [NBCSports.com baseball writer] Craig Calcaterra, who was the first person to mention it at a larger outlet than my little blog, and to [Grantland writer] Jonah Keri, who is a big fan, and has been gracious enough to mentioned it multiple times both in print and during Baseball Tonight. I owe Jonah a lot of drinks," says Lukehart. 
"Seeing MLB itself mention the Maddux has been awesome," he adds. "Now I just hope they mention me along with it one of these days. The ultimate though, that would be hearing Greg Maddux himself mention it. Fingers crossed."

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