08/07/2004 7:00 PM ET
Maddux: The Cy Young years
Award-winning years show pitcher at top of his game
Greg Maddux was the first pitcher to win four consecutive Cy Young Awards, a feat that was later matched by Arizona's Randy Johnson. Maddux's collection of four career Cy Young Awards is the third-highest total, trailing the six by Roger Clemens and five by Johnson.
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
The Cub right-hander, and the newest member of the 300-win club, has been among the balloting leaders for pitching's most prestigious award more often than any pitcher. He has finished in the top five in the Cy Young Award balloting a record nine times. Only three other pitchers -- Clemens (8), Johnson (8) and Tom Seaver (8) -- have finished in the top five more than seven times.
Maddux's Cy Young string was accomplished in the 12-year period beginning with the 1989 season and concluding with the 2000 season. Besides the four first-place finishes (1992-95), the right-hander came in third in 1989, fifth in 1996, second in 1997, fourth in 1998 and third in 2000.
There have been 14 unanimous Cy Young Award winners, but only four have earned that distinction twice: Steve Carlton (1972, 1977), Clemens (1986, 1998), Pedro Martinez (1999, 2000) and Maddux (1994, 1995).
Maddux finished third in the balloting in 1989, and his first Cy Young Award came after his incredible season with the Cubs 12 years ago.
1992: A 20-game winner for the first time in his career, Maddux made his second All-Star team and won his third consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Award. He finished 20-11 with a 2.18 ERA while leading the league in innings, wins and starts. Thirty of his 35 starts were quality starts, including 19 of his last 20 and 14 in a row from June 25 to Aug. 31.
In his 11 losses, the Cubs scored a total of eight runs and were shut out seven times. Maddux gave up just seven homers in 268 innings, and only one to a right-handed hitter. He was 12-4 at Wrigley Field with seven complete games.
Continuing a trend he would display throughout his career, Maddux really got going in the second half. After the All-Star break, Maddux was 10-3 with a 1.91 ERA.
1993: After signing a free agent contract with Atlanta, Maddux (20-10) won his second consecutive Cy Young Award and became only the second player to win the award with two different teams. Gaylord Perry won when he was with Cleveland in 1972 and again when he was with San Diego in 1978. Maddux led the league with a 2.36 ERA, the first Brave to do that since Buzz Capra in 1974. He also won a fourth straight Gold Glove.
He led NL pitchers in putouts for the fifth consecutive year, breaking Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander's record set in 1917 and tying Bob Lemon's Major League mark. Twenty-nine of his 36 starts were quality starts, including 15 of his final 17. In his 10 losses, the Braves scored a total of 15 runs and were shut out twice. He led the league in innings with 267 and complete games with eight.
Maddux also recorded his first career postseason win, beating Philadelphia in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
1994: Maddux became the first pitcher to win three consecutive Cy Young Awards and only the 10th to win the award by unanimous vote.
Maddux led the strike-shortened year in ERA (1.56) and tied Montreal's Ken Hill for most victories (16). He also won his fifth consecutive Gold Glove and once again led the league in total chances by a pitcher. His ERA was the third-best season total recorded since 1919, trailing only Bob Gibson (1.12, 1968) and Dwight Gooden (1.53, 1985).
He allowed only 35 runs, the fewest in franchise history, and his 10 complete games not only led the league, it was more than the total of any other team except Los Angeles (13). He started the All-Star Game at Pittsburgh and led the league in innings, shutouts and opponents' batting average against (.207).
1995: Arguably Maddux's best season, he dominated the National League, going 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA to win a fourth consecutive Cy Young Award -- he was the unanimous choice for the second year in a row -- in the Braves' World Champion campaign.
He won a sixth straight Gold Glove and became only the second pitcher, joining Walter Johnson, to have an ERA of less than 1.70 in two consecutive seasons.
From June 3 to July 13, Maddux pitched 51.0 innings without walking a batter. He walked 23 during the entire season, a span of 209 2/3 innings. He won ten straight games during one stretch and set a Major League record with 17 consecutive road wins, going 18-0 over 20 road starts.
Maddux had four consecutive complete games, and 10 for the season, and finished the regular season with 21 consecutive scoreless innings. He became the first pitcher with 20 or more decisions to post a .900 winning percentage. Maddux, who hasn't pitched a no-hitter, pitched a one-hitter on May 28 at Houston.
Maddux was 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in Atlanta's World Series win over the Cleveland Indians.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.