In today's piece of expected but still sad news, Scott Boras sent a release out today informing teams that Greg Madduxwill be retiring at the Winter Meetings on Monday. For a while, it seemed like Maddux planned on pitching forever, but after a rough year in 2008 (by Greg Maddux standards, at least) at the age of 42, Maddux is calling it quits and I think most people will agree that it's time.
As a nerdy kid, I always loved the professorial image that Maddux projected on the mound. Everyone knows about the four straight Cy Young awards in the early 90s, but it's easy to forget just how dominant Maddux was in that stretch. In 1995, he went 19-2, struck out 181 batters in 209 2/3 innings, and walked just 23 hitters. TWENTY-THREE! I could go on forever listing Maddux's accomplishments with the Braves, but let's just say that I'm not the sort of person that finds a pitcher's win/loss record impressive and I'm blown away by the fact that he won 15 or more games for 17 straight years. It's just kind of hard to fathom a pitcher because as consistently good as Maddux was.
Maddux will retire with 355 wins, which puts him one ahead of Roger Clemens for the most wins recorded by any pitcher of this generation (and the second-most by a pitcher since around 1950, behind Warren Spahn). I don't know how significant that milestone is to Maddux, but I'm willing to bet that it burns Clemens up. Really, it's kind of hard not to smile at that thought.