Baseball / Sports

Maddux gives props to Chicago during Hall speech

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Greg Maddux admitted during his Hall of Fame speech Sunday he left the Cubs to try and win.

"I picked Atlanta because I finally wanted to get a World Series ring and start a family," he said.

After a brief pause, Maddux said with a grin: "Sorry, Chicago."

The huge crowd at the induction ceremonies laughed, knowing the pain Cubs fans have felt over their lifetimes.

The former Cubs pitcher gave a short but memorable induction speech on Sunday, giving equal time to the Cubs and Braves.

"The city of Chicago and all Cubs fans were awesome," Maddux said. "Maybe the best in baseball."

Maddux talked about his two stints in Chicago, saying his first manager, Gene Michael "thought I was the bat boy" when he came up in 1986.

"The nickname stuck for a few years, but faded over time," he said.

Maddux later addressed his return to the Cubs in 2004, saying: "I loved Chicago so much the first time I played there I was very grateful Gary Hughes and Jim Hendry brought me back over to Chicago. That would give me a second chance to win there and maybe retire where it all started. But I wouldn't be a Cub if I couldn't handle a little heartache. We missed the postseason by one game my first year back."

Maddux thanked a few dozen people who helped get him to this point, including his parents, high school coach and several former Cubs employees: managers Michaels, Don Zimmer and Dusty Baker; Hendry and Hughes; pitching coaches Rick Kranitz, Billy Connors, Dick Pole and Larry Rothschild; catchers Damon Berryhill, Joe Girardi, Henry Blanco and Michael Barrett; and Andre Dawson, Rick Sutcliffe and Ryne Sandberg.

Maddux gave credit to Kranitz for teaching him how to throw a changeup, to Pole for refining his delivery and Zimmer for making him "realize there's a difference between winning and pitching just well enough to lose."

Among the several humorous asides was some patented Maddux bathroom humor. He thanked his brother, Mike, for teaching him a trick with methane and a lighter.

"And I still get a huge kick out of it today," he said.

Overall, Maddux was just thankful to be able to play the game he loved, and having the ride of a lifetime doing it.

"I never gave a thought to the Hall of Fame as I was going through my career," he said. "My only goal as a ballplayer was very simple. All I wanted to do was try to get better for my next start, and to think it all ended up here is pretty cool."

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus