Maddux masterful in 77-pitch complete game
So Braves pitcher Greg Maddux decided to hurry things along.
Maddux needed only 77 pitches that day in a complete game win over the Cubs, earning his National League-leading 14th victory of the season in a 4-1 triumph over Chicago on July 22, 1997. The game took just two hours and seven minutes from first pitch until Sammy Sosa grounded out to second base to end the game.
The 77 pitches were the fewest in a complete game since Bob Tewksbury of the Cardinals needed just 75 in a six-hitter against the Reds on Aug. 29, 1990. Individual pitcher pitch count records are largely incomplete prior to the 1990s, but only Andy Ashby would author another complete game with fewer than 77 pitches during the rest of the 90s – needing 75 pitches in his Padres’ 7-2 win over the Rockies on July 5, 1998.
In the 2000s, only four pitchers would record complete games with pitch counts less than 80 pitches.
Maddux would finish the 1997 season with a record of 19-4 with a 2.20 earned-run average. In 232.2 innings, he walked just 20 batters for an average of 0.774 walks per nine innings pitched. Only Tewksbury, who walked 0.773 batters per nine innings pitched in 1992, posted a better mark among pitchers working 200 innings from 1933-2009.
“He’s so good,” Dunston told the Chicago Tribune, “it’s pathetic.”
Maddux was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum