Saturday, August 07, 2004

Gregg Maddux; A Class Act.

When I was a kid I lived and breathed Baseball. I would play it from the time the sun went up until it went down. In some ways I was lucky to have been born into a military family and grown up on Army bases. There were always kids to play with.

I was a pitcher and a good one. I dreamed of playing in the major leagues but the circumstances of my life did not permit it. I did continue to play. For awhile a group of us used to travel around rural Virgina and play black teams. I was in my 30's then. Those are some fine memories.

I learned to live vicariously through major league pitchers. One of them was Steve Carlton but there were others. I always picked the teams I rooted for based on the pitcher I loved most. So it was that I was once a Cubs fan, then a Braves fan and now a Cubs fan again- because of Greg Maddux. In an age of arrogance and over-powering celebrity, Greg stands out as a pure ideal of a vanished age. That man can pitch. He's the smartest pitcher I ever saw. I love the man.

Tomorow he's going against the Giants for his 300th win. His last effort ended in a no decision. He tired early and went into the clubhouse. He'll be on the mound again tomorrow. I'm hoping he has a shining moment.

I've got a few heroes and depending on what arena they perform in I expect different things of them. Greg has never let me down. He's one of the class acts of all time. You can sense his love of the game, his quiet competitiveness and concentration are always present. He has a dignity about him that is as rare as an unassisted triple play. I can't say enough good about the man and I don't want to try to say too much. His life and his work speak far more eloquently than I can.

Thank you Gregg Maddux for living my dream in the way I wished that I could have and certainly better than I would have.

There have been faster and flashier pitchers. There may have been better pitchers. I don't know if there have been smarter pitchers, but I do know that there have been no pitchers who have ever been better human beings in the process of their work.

One more time, Greg Maddux, thank you very, very much.




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