There isn't a whole lot I can add to what I wrote last week about my own personal memories of Greg Maddux' great career as a Chicago Cub. We don't have to go over the reasons he left Chicago, nor the "heartache," as Maddux put it in his Hall of Fame induction speech Sunday, of his return in 2004, which was supposed to help lead the Cubs back to the postseason, only to fall short.
I'm writing this article simply to celebrate the career of Maddux and his day at the Hall. He is one of the all-time greatest Cubs even though he spent his best years with the Braves, and could be said to be one of the five greatest pitchers of all time, certainly the best of his generation.
Going into the Hall of Fame this year with Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas, and managers Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, and Joe Torre (who rank third, fourth and fifth on the all-time manager wins list), Maddux is part of one of what might be seen as one of the greatest Hall of Fame classes ever. Congratulations, Greg; I'm sad you didn't spend your entire career in Chicago, but as Cubs fans we'll still celebrate you as one of the greatest Cubs ever.
It should be noted that Maddux is likely the last person to be inducted into the Hall with any significant connection to the Cubs for possibly the next 30 years. There aren't any active players who had Cubs connections who are Hall-worthy, and though Lou Piniella might eventually get in, he was best known for his time with other teams.
Savor this one, then. Perhaps someone from the young players now with the Cubs or coming to the team soon will have a Hall of Fame career, but we might have to wait three decades for one of those guys to stand on the dais at Cooperstown.
If you missed Maddux' 10-minute speech (he never was a man of many words), here it is: