Maddux remains accessible to young Rangers
Special assistant teaching players, who watched Hall of Famer speak Thursday
ARLINGTON -- Greg Maddux is going into the Hall of Fame this summer, but without a logo on his cap.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced on Thursday that Maddux will not have a logo displayed on his plaque when he is inducted on July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y. The absence of a logo is because Maddux doesn't want to show preference to either the Braves or the Cubs after spending large parts of his 23-year career with each of those two franchises.
"I feel good about it," Maddux said. "I spent half my career in Chicago and half my career in Atlanta. I came up with the Cubs, played [seven] years there and then three more at the end of my career. I was in Atlanta for 11 years. That comes up to about the same amount of time. I love both places. Obviously I had more success with the Braves and we won a World Series. But coming up with the Cubs, I couldn't pick, because both places mean so much to me."
Maddux will be a part of a special class. The Baseball Writers' Association of America also elected Tom Glavine, his former Braves teammate, as well as White Sox slugger Frank Thomas. The Expansion Era Committee elected Bobby Cox, who was Maddux's manager in Atlanta, as well Tony La Russa and Joe Torre. Maddux played for Torre in Los Angeles at the end of the pitcher's career.
"I'm very fortunate to go in with a great group of guys," Maddux said.
Maddux played his entire career in the National League, but he will enter the Hall of Fame while being employed by an American League team. Maddux is entering his third season as a special assistant in the Rangers' organization, and he was back at work on Thursday, attending the pitching camp at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Maddux also held a news conference at the Ballpark after Thursday's workout, and the session was turned into a teaching tool by the Rangers. While Maddux sat at the podium and answered questions, the Rangers brought about 20 young players, so they could watch how a Hall of Famer deals with the media.
Maddux does not work for Texas full-time, but he does not hold a ceremonial role either. He likes working with pitchers and helping out his brother Mike, who is the club's pitching coach. Just because Maddux is going into the Hall of Fame, he doesn't want the Rangers' young pitchers to think it will make him less accessible.
"I think most of the guys know me well enough and don't think that," Maddux said. "I'm pretty approachable. If they don't know it, they'll learn it. The reason for being here is helping them and sharing my experiences. I learned from players, and hopefully I can help those who come after me.
"The beauty is you never know when you're going to get a good tip that will help you on the mound. I help with pitch selection, the mental side and relay my own personal experiences on the mound. What these guys are experiencing, I've been through it, so I just try to add to it."
Maddux, whose family lives in Las Vegas, does not want a full-time job in baseball. He spends Spring Training and instructional league with the Rangers and makes about six or seven special trips to the Minor Leagues throughout the season. He was brought here by his big brother, who is in his sixth season as Texas' pitching coach.
"I respect what he has done here," Maddux said. "I've learned a lot from him watching him coach, handling players and running Spring Training, pregame scouting and video. It makes me realize I'm glad I do this part-time. It's a lot of work and a big-time commitment.
"Right now I am very content. I enjoy my time off and I enjoy my time with my family. I enjoy doing things outside of baseball as well as inside baseball. I'm pretty lucky to have this opportunity."
Prior to taking this assignment, Maddux had only one tangential brush with the Rangers. That was back in the winter of 1992, when he was a free agent after winning his first NL Cy Young Award with the Cubs.
The Rangers were looking for free-agent pitching that winter, and they finally had some money to spend under the new ownership group with the new ballpark under construction. It was a tremendous free-agent pitching class that included Maddux, David Cone, Dave Stewart, Greg Swindell, Jimmy Key and Doug Drabek. But the Rangers were never really able to attract Maddux's attention in the process.
"I wanted to stay in the National League," Maddux said. "There wasn't a lot of interest in going to the American League. Mainly it was Atlanta or Chicago, with a little New York Yankees too. I don't remember much about the Rangers."
The Rangers couldn't get anybody interested. Swindell and Drabek were both Texas natives, but they ended up signing with the Astros. The Rangers had to settle for closer Tom Henke and reliever-turned-starter Craig Lefferts. When Maddux signed in Atlanta, the Rangers got the Braves' leftovers. They traded for Charlie Leibrandt, who had become expendable after Atlanta signed Maddux.
Leibrandt was coming off back-to-back 15-win seasons for the Braves, but he won just nine games for the Rangers and then retired. Maddux stayed in the NL and never pitched in Arlington, even after the introduction of Interleague Play.
"I like to think I would have done OK here," Maddux said.