Today, Greg Maddux's #31 will be retired alongside other Braves greats: Dale Murphy (3), Warren Spahn (21), Phil Niekro (35), Eddie Matthews (41) and Hank Aaron (44), as well as non-Brave Jackie Robinson (42). I always like when people are honored while they're still alive, do I'm excited that I will be in the stands tonight for the ceremony.
Maddux is a 355-game winner who received three of his four consecutive Cy Young awards while in a Braves uniform, making it almost certain that he'll enter the Hall of Fame as a Brave. His stint in Atlanta from 1993-2003 marked some of the best years the Braves had as a ballclub. While in Atlanta, he set career franchise records in ERA (2.63) and winning percentage (.688).
Bobby Cox was quoted today as saying that Maddux was smartest pitcher he ever saw, the most competitive he ever saw and the best teammate he ever saw. Even John Smoltz (the ultimate competitor in my mind) was quoted as saying that Maddux was the best pitcher in our era, and I agree. There is speculation that he'll be the first unanimous election to the Hall of Fame. I disagree, not because he doesn't deserve it, but because I think there are voters who simply don't think anyone should get in during their first eligible year.
I could go on and on about how great he is, but you already know all that. Instead, why don't you post your favorite Maddux memory in the comments. Meanwhile, I'm hitting the road for the game! Don't have tickets to tonight's game? Check out Braves.com for live coverage of the pregame ceremony!