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March 27, 2014

Maddux, Cox stick together


“It would have been great if the three of us could have been here together, but it’s been an exciting day,” Cox said in reference to Glavine, a 305-game winner who took his tour last week. “It’s starting to hit home right now for me for the first time how much this means to a person that spent (his entire life) in the game of baseball — to realize that this is the top of the hill.”

Counting this year’s class, there are 306 Hall of Famers in a sport that’s been played at the professional level for nearly 150 years.

Maddux echoed Cox’s sentiments.

“It’s hitting hard today,” said Maddux, a special assistant to the general manager in the Texas Rangers organization. “Being around spring training for the last month, you can hear Hall of Famer, this and that, and it starts to sink a little bit. But now today, it’s hitting pretty hard.”

Maddux and Cox aced their entry exams into the Hall.

Maddux’s pinpoint control and his ability to keep hitters off-balance by locating an array of pitches led him to 355 victories — eighth most in big-league history. He also won four Cy Young Awards, and the Baseball Writers’ Association of America rewarded Maddux in January by placing him on 97.2 percent of its ballots. Of course, with the numbers Maddux produced over 22 years, it might make some wonder what the other 2.8 percent were thinking.

Cox pointed out that pitching wasn’t only aspect of baseball that Maddux took seriously.

“Greg was our ace pinch-runner sometimes,” Cox said. “He could really run and he was willing to do it after winning a few Cy Young Awards, which is hard to find these days.

“Talent (made him a great pitcher), I think and I don’t know if it was God-given or not,” he continued of Maddux, who won a record 18 Gold Gloves. “He certainly knew how to pitch and not throw. He was a great pitcher, a great fielder and he could hit in certain situations. He may be the best sacrifice-bunter I’d ever seen. He’s the all-around package and it doesn’t come easy. He had to work at it.”

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