Maddux sets record with 17th Gold Glove Award

Part of the INSIDE PITCH series
Written by: Craig Muder

Greg Maddux’s pitching resume puts him squarely in the discussion about the greatest pitchers the game has known.

His work fielding his position, however, leaves little room for debate.

On Nov. 6, 2007, Maddux received his 17th Rawlings Gold Glove Award, snapping a tie with Jim Kaat and Brooks Robinson for the most at any position.

Maddux, who went 14-11 for the San Diego Padres that year in his age-41 season, would go on to win another Gold Glove Award in 2008 – his final year in the big leagues.

“It’s cool to win again,” Maddux said in a press release following the news of his 17th Gold Glove Award. “I’m fortunate to still be pitching at this level and honored to be recognized with this prestigious award.”

Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were first presented in 1957, so there are generations of pitchers who never got the chance to earn the honor. But since the award was instituted, Maddux and Kaat – who won 16 Gold Glove Awards from 1962-77 – earned 33 percent of the 103 Gold Gloves given to pitchers from 1957-2008.

“How can you just stick your glove out and catch the ball even when your eyes are turned because of your delivery?” Braves teammate Chipper Jones rhetorically asked a New York Daily News reporter following a Maddux fielding clinic in Game 1 of the NLCS on Oct. 12, 1999.

“He seems to do it. And when you have that, it’s like having another shortstop in the middle of the field.”

When he retired following the 2008 season, Maddux had amassed 355 wins, a 3.16 earned-run average and four Cy Young Awards. Those numbers earned him election to the Hall of Fame in 2014.

But his fielding statistics are just as impressive: Three seasons with a perfect fielding percentage, 12 seasons leading the league in assists and eight seasons leading the league in putouts.

His career total of 546 putouts ranks No. 1 all-time – more than 150 ahead of runner-up Kevin Brown.

Cleveland Indians manager Mike Hargrove summed up Maddux’s career during the 1995 World Series in an interview printed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“He’s everything you would want a pitcher to be,” Hargrove said.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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Part of the INSIDE PITCH series