Baseball according to Greg Maddux


You’ve probably heard that Greg Maddux is one of the newest members of the baseball Hall Of Fame. Deservedly so. He had an incredible career that included a span where he was otherworldly good. If you would like to hear a little about the philosophy that got him there, you have to have a look at this story at the Washington Post. I particularly enjoyed this example.

First, Maddux was convinced no hitter could tell the speed of a pitch with any meaningful accuracy. To demonstrate, he pointed at a road a quarter-mile away and said it was impossible to tell if a car was going 55, 65 or 75 mph unless there was another car nearby to offer a point of reference.

“You just can’t do it,” he said. Sometimes hitters can pick up differences in spin. They can identify pitches if there are different releases points or if a curveball starts with an upward hump as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. But if a pitcher can change speeds, every hitter is helpless, limited by human vision.

“Except,” Maddux said, “for that [expletive] Tony Gwynn.”

[expletive] Tony Gwynn! The whole thing is great, offering an interesting look at one of the greatest pitchers of our generation.

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