This is the most popular rookie card of the man who won more games in the 1990s than any pitcher in baseball. Greg Maddux did not possess the overpowering stuff that defined Sandy Koufax or Roger Clemens, but his ability to outthink hitters coupled with pinpoint control made him a star. In the beginning, Maddux did not appear to be a star in the making, going 6-14 with an ERA of 5.61 for the Chicago Cubs, but he was determined to show the world that he belonged. This eight-time All-Star won 18 Gold Gloves, an all-time record, which surpassed Brooks Robinson (17) and Jim Kaat (17) for the most at any position. When it comes to this rookie card, there are a couple of things to note. First, keep in mind there are two different versions, the wax pack and factory set cards. The factory set examples are slightly smaller than the wax pack version and are often found with blunt corners due to the cellophane wrapping they were tightly packaged in. Both versions are subject to chipping and edge wear along the black borders.
Gregory Alan “Greg” Maddux (April 14, 1966-) is the only pitcher in the history of the Major Leagues to win 15 games in 17 consecutive seasons, and was the first pitcher in history to win four straight Cy Young Awards (a feat matched by Randy Johnson). The Chicago Cubs took Greg in the second round of the 1984 MLB June Amateur Draft; after numerous clubs passed over the future Hall of Famer for fear that his small physique might hinder his performance. Little did they know the gem that they had plucked out of the draft in the second round, as Maddux went on to become the winningest pitcher in the Major leagues during the 1990s with a 176-88 record, a 2.54 ERA and 1,764 strikeouts. Greg won his first of four consecutive Cy Young Awards with the Chicago Cubs (1992) before becoming the ace of the Atlanta Braves superb pitching staff that included fellow Cy Young winners Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Greg was primarily a ground-ball pitcher, who focused more on control as opposed to velocity, which in turn induced infield hits and thereby allowing him to field numerous grounders earning him a Major League record 18 National League Gold Glove Awards.
Extremely durable and consistent, Maddux led the NL in starts seven times, innings pitched and shutouts five times, earned run average four times, wins, complete games and strikeout-to-walk ratio three times and twice in winning percentage. The Professor, as he was named for his knowledge of the game and study of batters’ habits and tendencies, used pinpoint accuracy to earn eight All-Star Game selections and four Cy Young Awards and four National League The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year awards (1992-1995). During his Cy Young streak he went 75-29 with 733 strikeouts and an incredible 1.98 ERA. Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz helped the Atlanta Braves reach three World Series (1995, 1996, 1999) and won the 1995 title over the heavy-hitting Cleveland Indians. He pitched for 23 seasons in the National League with the Cubs (1986-1992, 2004-2006), the Braves (1993-2003), the Los Angeles Dodgers (2006, 2008) and the San Diego Padres (2006-2008). Greg is one of only a handful of pitchers to record 300 wins and 3000 strikeouts and only Warren Spahn (363) has had more wins since 1920 than Maddux (355). Greg Maddux finished his career with a 355-227 record with 3,371 strikeouts and a 3.16 career ERA. In the field, Maddux won 18 Gold Gloves on a .970 career fielding percentage with 546 putouts, 1,194 assists, 98 double plays and 53 errors in 1,793 chances. Greg Maddux was nearly a unanimous selection as he entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 and was enshrined alongside longtime teammate and fellow 300-game winner Tom Glavine.