Greg Maddux, who had his number retired in Peoria in 2010, became the first former Peoria Chiefs player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday with 97.2 percent of the votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY on July 27.
Maddux started the Chiefs 1985 home opener two days shy of his 19th birthday and established a franchise debut record with 12 strikeouts over eight innings in a 4-1 win over the Springfield Cardinals. Overall in a Chiefs uniform, Maddux made 27 starts in 1985 going 13-9 with a 3.19 ERA. He struck out 125 batters and walked 52 in 186 innings while firing six complete games. He finished fourth in the Midwest League in wins and starts, fifth in innings pitched and 13th in ERA. Maddux threw a 1-hitter against Cedar Rapids on May 14, 1985 and also batted .238 with a double and one RBI in 21 at-bats. Maddux helped the Chiefs into the playoffs under manager Pete Mackanin and started Game two of the MWL Finals, a 5-3 loss to Kenosha.
Maddux retired after the 2008 season as the eighth-winningest pitcher in MLB history. He is one of four pitchers in MLB history with more than 3,000 strikeouts but less than 1,000 walks. Maddux won four Cy Youngs, a record 18 Gold Gloves and was selected to eight All-Star teams. He set a NL record in 2001 with 72 1/3 innings without issuing a walk and pitched in 35 playoff games. Maddux won four ERA titles, led the NL in shutouts five times, holds the MLB record for times leading the league in starts and also for seasons finishing in the top 10 in wins. Both the Cubs and Braves have retired his number 31 and since 1920 only Warren Spahn has won more games.
Maddux was drafted by the Cubs out of Valley High School in Las Vegas, NV in the second round of the 1984 draft and made his MLB debut in September 1986 as a 20-year-old. His breakout season came in 1988 with an 18-8 season and Maddux helped the Cubs to the 1989 N.L. East title with a 19-12 season and a 2.95 ERA. Maddux won his first N.L. Cy Young Award with the Cubs in 1992 with his first 20-win season and a 2.18 ERA over 35 starts. With 95 wins over his first seven seasons, Maddux left the Cubs in the 1992 off-season signing a free-agent contract with the Atlanta Braves. The right-hander won another Cy Young Award in 1993 with a 20-10 record and a 2.36 ERA as the Braves won the N.L. Pennant. In the strike-shortened 1994 season Maddux won his third straight Cy Young with a 16-6 record and a 1.56 ERA. The 1995 season was magical for Maddux and the Braves as he won his fourth straight Cy Young Award with one of the best pitching seasons in the last 40 years and the Braves won their first World Series in Atlanta. In 28 starts in 1995, Maddux issued just 23 walks and posted a 19-2 record with a 1.63 ERA. He continued building a Hall of Fame resume with at least 15 wins and an ERA under 3.96 in each season from 1996 to 2003 with Atlanta.
Maddux returned to the Cubs as a free agent before the 2004 season and went 16-11 with a 4.02 ERA for Chicago that season. On August 7, 2004 he notched his 300th career victory against the San Francisco Giants and on July 26, 2005 he struck out his 3000th batter against the Giants as well. Maddux went to the Dodgers in a June 2006 trade and helped Los Angeles to the playoffs. He signed with the San Diego Padres for the 2007 season and was traded back to the Dodgers in August, 2008 again helping Los Angeles to the playoffs. In the 2008 post-season he threw one inning at Wrigley Field against the Cubs in Game One of the NLDS for his final appearance in Chicago as a player.