Greg Maddux will likely go down as the greatest pitcher of this generation. Maddux was an absolute master at his craft, compiling an amazing 355 wins and 18 gold gloves through guts, guile, smarts, athleticism, and control. Maddux never could throw very hard, but he did not have too. Maddux dominated hitters with his fantastic control and made countless hitters look absolutely foolish. Seriously, I have never seen a pitcher make so many hitters look bad. Maddux could do things to a baseball that most of us can only dream about doing. What an impressive sight to watch.
Think about this, Maddux dominated in an era where many ball parks got smaller, many players got bigger (juiced!), and the number of home runs increased dramatically. The idea that Maddux was this dominant without any kind of enhancement still boggles my mind. But he never needed steroids, Maddux's smarts coupled with his amazing athletic ability were enough to dominate many chemically enhanced freaks. His dominance was special, the kind of dominance that we will likely never see again.
With that said, I am happy to see Maddux retire. I respect and admire Maddux for his dominance and how he pitched, but Maddux was a Met killer. Maddux won 35 games against the Mets throughout his career and always seemed to always come up big when the Braves needed him. I cannot tell you the amount of times Mets hitters would flail at a Maddux offering or blankly stare as a backdoor slider slowly crept back over the outside corner. Too many times, the Mets had no chance against Maddux. And we all knew it.
Even though Maddux has not been with the Atlanta Braves since 2003, I always thought that Maddux would somehow continue to haunt the Mets. And how could I not, the guy had done it so many times before! But now that he has decided to hang up his spikes, I can rest easy knowing that Maddux will no longer be around to dominate the Mets.