American Century Championship notebook: Greg Maddux excited about hall of fame
STATELINE – Greg Maddux isn’t one to toot his horn — ever.
That is why Maddux has politely declined to appear on the various conference calls leading into the annual American Century Championship tournament, nor has he wanted to come into the media room during the event.
Golf aside, Maddux is one of the biggest stories at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course this week. In just over a week, the 48-year-old pitching great is being inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. along with ex-Atlanta Brave teammate Tom Glavine, former Atlanta manager Bobby Cox, former Oakland, Chicago White Sox and St. Louis manager Tony La Russa and Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas.
Maddux compiled a 355-227 record with a 3.18 ERA. He was a Gold Glove winner 18 times, an eight-time all-star, and a four-time Cy Young Award winner. He was a first-ballot winner with 97.2 percent of the vote. He won 20 games one time and 19 five times.
“It’s an honor and privilege,” said Maddux, who compiled 13 first-round points on Friday. “It’s not something you think about. Once you reach the big leagues, you are just happy to be there.”
“Not really a shock,” said Rick Rhoden, who had a lengthy career in the majors. “He was one of the best pitchers in the last half century. All you ever hear is that he didn’t throw hard. When he first came up, he threw hard and wasn’t just a control pitcher. That (control) came later.”
Indeed. Maddux’s fastball at the end of his career topped out at 86 mph.
Orel Hershiser once said Maddux could “hit a teacup.”
Besides playing golf, these days Maddux spends much of his time coaching baseball in the Las Vegas area. Maddux’s son, Chase, is of course a pitcher.
“It (coaching) is good,” Maddux said. “The kids are getting better every game, and that’s all you want. I’ve been working with this group for several years.”
Chase Maddux will be a senior at Bishop Gorman High School next year.
Defending champs update
It wasn’t a super day for four-time and defending champ Billy Joe Tolliver, who finished with 16 points.
Tolliver, after back-to-back birdies on Nos. 3 and 4, he finished the front side with four pars and a bogey. He struggled on the back nine with just one birdie and four bogeys.
Mark Rypien, who won the first ACC title, is in third place with 22 points. Jack Wagner, a two-time champ, sits at 19 points. Rick Rhoden, the eight-time champ is at 17 points.
First-round leader Chad Pfeifer had his cart stolen on the par-3 17th.
“I went back outside the ropes to grab the cart and it wasn’t there, so I just walked the rest of the way in, which isn’t too bad,” he said. “I can typically walk a round of golf, but doing it back-to-back days, it takes a toll on my leg. I’m hoping to kind of preserve my legs today and tomorrow and then Sunday I’ll be walking the whole round.”