Lest you start to believe that I don’t care about the Cubs, I’ll have you know that I’m aware Frank Thomas wasn’t the only player with Chicago connections who will be entering the Hall of Fame this year.
It’s just that I don’t really consider Greg Maddux a Cub. I know his career started on the north side, but Maddux left Chicago for Atlanta following the 1992 season. I wasn’t yet 13 years old, and my true sports consciousness hadn’t really developed yet. I knew who Greg Maddux was, I knew he was good, and I even saw him pitch in person a few times. I just wasn’t old enough to know what any of it meant.
So the Maddux I truly grew up watching was the Atlanta Braves version of Greg Maddux. And he was the greatest pitcher I’ve ever seen, and anybody who didn’t vote for him was an idiot, even if they only left him off because they knew he’d get in so they tried to help another player’s chances.
But when he goes into Cooperstown this summer his plaque will be wearing an Atlanta Braves hat. That’s how I saw him, and how I’ll always see him.