Chicago Cubs: Greg Maddux – 1992
It is wild to observe the career of the great Greg Maddux only to find out he was a second-round selection in the MLB Amateur player draft. A starting pitcher whose career spanned 23 years was an afterthought in the opening round of the draft. Every team passed Maddux up, including the Cubs.
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Nevertheless, by the time the second round rolled around, the Cubs did not wish to miss out again, drafting him out of Valley High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. Neither Maddux nor the Cubs knew at the time (because how could you) the type of pitcher and overall leader Maddux would become in his time in the Show.
Across two separate stints, Maddux suited up for the Cubs over a career spanning ten seasons. While many people in the younger generation only know Maddux for his career in Atlanta, because it was stellar, many forget he became a star long before that time. By the time his time in Chicago was up, Maddux had finished with a career 3.61 ERA, racking up 133 wins in the process.
The best season for Maddux in a Cubs uniform has to be 1992. It was the first time in his storied career, and set a precedent over the next four years, that Maddux earned the National League Cy Young Award. Maddux also won 20 games that season, which is crazy to fathom because of how dominant he indeed became in his career. Over a career 268.0 innings pitched, Maddux made 35 starts and finished with a 2.18 ERA.
Concerning the additional offensive statistics, Maddux finished with a very impressive 166 ERA+ and surrendered a measly seven home runs across those 35 starts. The FIP became impressive in its regard as well. Maddux compiled a solid 2.58 FIP, finishing slightly behind Roger Clemens. Despite this, Maddux ended leading in WAR for everyone as well as WAR for pitchers alone.
Across the 23-year career, Maddux finished with 19 total wins over five different seasons. The 20-game win season will forever hold a special place in his heart, as Cubs fans will always be grateful for what Maddux accomplished in his time spent on the Northside.
Get excited for part two as we profile the remaining five individually impressive seasons by the Cubs’ starting pitching. It may surprise some to see who made the cut.