Introducing… Garry Maddox

Noted for his ballhawking abilities, Garry Maddox earned the nickname The Secretary of Defense.  The most famous quote regarding Maddox was made by Hall of Fame slugger and former broadcaster Ralph Kiner, who claimed that two-thirds of the earth is covered by water, the other third is covered by Garry Maddox.  The star center fielder won a Gold Glove Award every year from 1975 to 1982.

Before Maddox played his first game in the Major Leagues, he served in the Army during the Vietnam War.  The future Gold Glover saw combat action and was exposed to chemicals that left his face tender.  To protect his skin, Maddox sported a beard throughout his career.  Initially drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 1968 draft, San Fransisco fans had to wait while Garry spent two years in the military when he should have been on the farm, fine-tuning his game.

The Giants made Maddox a regular in 1972 and he belted a dozen homeruns as a rookie.  Although he had a fine showing as a rookie, he busted out like the Incredible Hulk in unwanted confinement in 1973.  Garry was the only center fielder in the Major Leagues to post double-digit totals in all the extra base hit departments in ’73.  He also hit a robust .319 and posted his first year of 350+ putouts (he would have four years in which he exceeded 400 putouts (Joe DiMaggio had three such years while Hall of Famers Mantle and Snider had no years of 400 putouts).
After a cold start in 1975, the Giants made a near-sighted deal when they shipped Garry to the Phillies for Willie Montanez.  The trade was of the lopsided variety.  Maddox won his first Gold Glove that year (the first of eight straight) while also pilfering 25 bags.  His highwater mark for batting average came the following season when Maddox hit .330 while pacing National League center fielders in hits and doubles.  His Phillies captured the NL East flag but lost the NLCS to the Reds.
Garry enjoyed his best power season in 1977 when he carried the Phillies to another NLCS.  The Secretary of Defense was the lone National League center fielder to post double-digit totals in every extra base hit department that year.  Although he hit .429 in the NLCS, his club lost to the Dodgers.  It was more of the same in 1978.  Garry paced NL center fielders in doubles while the Phillies snared their third straight NL East flag, but for the third year in a row, they were NLCS losers.
The Phillies luck changed in 1980 when Garry fashioned his eighth straight season of 20 or more stolen bases.  His mates won their fourth NL East flag in five years but this time defeated their NLCS foes and went to the World Series.  Maddox clubbed a pair of doubles in the World Series, helping the Phillies topple the Kansas City Royals.
Maddox hit .284 in 1982 and won his last Gold Glove Award at the age of 32.  His final postseason action came the next year when Garry hit .273 in the ’83 NLCS.  His Phillies took on the Orioles in the World Series, and although Garry slugged at a mighty .583 clip during the Fall Classic, they fell to the birds of Baltimore.
He missed time in 1984 to injury and when he returned in 1985, the Phillies had gone with youth, plugging the outfield with Von Hayes, Glenn Wilson and Jeff Stone.  Garry served as a backup/platoon partner in 1985 and only played in six games because of injury in 1986–his final season.
G 1,749/R 777/H 1,802/2B 337/3B 62/HR 117/RBI 754/BB 323/SO 781/BA .285/SA .413
* I struck some button on the keyboard that has placed the last few paragraphs in italics.  If I were computer savvy, I’d change it, but at least this makes Garry Maddox stand out, I guess.
1 comment
  1. brettkiser said:

    Garry’s greatest asset on the diamond was his glove, even though he was a fine offensive player to boot. A .285 career BA is not too shabby for a guy who played in the 1970s, but Maddox has some peers from that decade who are viewed as more deserving of a HOF call: Al Oliver and Amos Otis, to name two. His HOF chances are weak.

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