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Despite great heights, Maddux true to roots

Legendary righty, fond of time with Cubs, enters Hall of Fame with no logo @mlbbowman

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Greg Maddux surprised many when he decided that the hat on his Hall of Fame plaque would not include a team logo. But those folks who simply assumed that he would be inducted as a Brave were ignoring the genuine appreciation and love he has always had for the Cubs and the city of Chicago.

When Maddux concluded his 11-year stint as a member of the Braves' rotation after the 2003 season, he returned to the Cubs, who had drafted him 20 years earlier. The legendary right-hander spent his first six full Major League seasons with the Cubs and captured the first of his four consecutive National League Cy Young Awards while still in Chicago.

Maddux notched 194 of his 355 career victories while wearing a Braves uniform. But he never lost touch with the appreciation he has always had for the Cubs. Thus instead of slighting one fan base, Maddux was inducted into the Hall of Fame Sunday as neither a Brave nor a Cub. He simply stood as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history.

"I thought I would probably retire [in Chicago]," Maddux said. "Things change over time. It was nice going back there. I was received very well there. I loved the city, loved the team and loved the location. I love Wrigley [Field]. I liked the weather, believe it or not. It's nice having different weather. There were just so many good things about Chicago. To be able to go back there was a bonus."

Regardless of whether Maddux's plaque has a Braves logo, he is certainly part of the Braves' celebration that is taking place in Cooperstown this weekend. The other inductees of this year's star-studded class include his former Atlanta manager, Bobby Cox, and Tom Glavine, Maddux's longtime Braves teammate.

While spending 10 seasons (1993-2002) together in Atlanta's rotation, Glavine and Maddux developed a strong friendship that was never tainted by even the slightest scent of jealousy. Thus they both seem to genuinely appreciate this chance to experience the game's ultimate honor together. Neither member of the 300-wins club has seemed to mind sharing the spotlight with the other.

"[Glavine] was very consistent and very stubborn," Maddux said. "He wanted to win more than the other pitcher. He kind of taught me that you don't have to feel good to go out there and pitch and win. I think everybody thinks you have to be 100 percent to go out and compete."

Glavine's stubborn approach led him to frequently attempt to frustrate opposing batters with pitches off the edge of the plate. Maddux was more aggressive within the strike zone with his array of pitches that often darted and ducked away from opposing swings.

When discussing the speeches they will give during today's induction ceremony, Glavine got the sense that Maddux's delivery will be much like his approach to pitching.

"[Maddux] and I and Frank [Thomas] were talking a little bit yesterday about our speech length," Glavine said. "I think Frank and I are a little bit longer than Greg. No surprise. His speech will probably be like his pitching, quick and to the point."

Maddux was asked to describe the process of preparing for his speech.

"Nerve-wracking," he said.

Maddux delivered his speech before Glavine and Cox.

"I'm just going to read it off the paper," Maddux said. "It was recommended to me to not wing it because you might not go to places you want to visit. They said to stick to a script, and I'll take their advice on that one."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for

Atlanta Braves, Greg Maddux