Monday, April 21, 2014

Card #20: Garry Maddox

Who Can It Be Now?
Garry Lee Maddox was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on September 1, 1948, but graduated high school from San Pedro High School in California.  He was drafted only one time -- in the 2nd round of the 1968 January Draft by the San Francisco Giants.  Back in those days with all of the different drafts available to pick players, I start to wonder whether teams were really taking these selections seriously -- after all, Maddox was drafted 14 picks after Ken Stabler, for crying out loud.  Clearly the Giants were taking it seriously, though, selecting (and signing) George Foster in the third round.

Maddox played in the minors in 1968 and went to Vietnam after that, causing him to miss the 1969 and 1970 seasons. He came back and played 120 games in the California league at age 21.  He played a couple of weeks in the minors in 1972 at AAA and tore the cover off the ball -- 9 homers in 51 at bats with a 1.616 OPS tearing the cover off the ball -- and the Giants called him up.  Maddox never looked back and never went back to the minors.  

In 1973, Maddox had a great year -- 30 doubles, 10 triples, 11 homers, 76 RBI, 24 steals, and a slash line of .319/.350/.460.  Golden Gate Sports on's "Fansided" rated that season the 14th best season for center fielders in San Francisco in 2014.  While that may seem low, one must remember that it's easy to finish behind two Brett Butler seasons in his prime and 11 seasons of Willie Mays.

His 1974 was not as good, but he was still just 24 years old.  Instead of keeping him, the Giants let their impatience get the best of them and traded him to Philadelphia for Willie Montanez.  With a bit more patience, the Giants could have had an outfield of Maddox, Gary Matthews, and Bobby Bonds with George Foster and Dave Kingman waiting in the wings.  As it turned out, by 1978, all of them were gone from San Francisco.

Maddox caught the last out of the 1980 National League Championship in the 10th inning of the fifth game against the Houston Astros.  This happened after Maddox hit the game-winning two-run double in the top of the inning.  In response, his teammates carried him off the field on their shoulders:

The Phillies went on to win the World Series against the Royals, of course.  I wasn't a big fan because I really didn't like Pete Rose.  If you've read this blog -- you know, the Pete Rose Highlight card -- you'd know that already.

Maddox had the nickname of "The Secretary of Defense," a name pinned on him by Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas, who also quipped "Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, [and] the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox."  That quote is alternately attributed to Ralph Kiner, but it appears in just about every story talking about Maddox.

Maddox won 8 Gold Gloves during his career -- the last of which came in 1982, despite the fact that Maddox played only 119 games.  Indeed, those 8 Gold Gloves were won in 8 consecutive seasons from 1975 through 1982.  At the time Maddox retired, the only players who had more Gold Gloves were Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, and Al Kaline.  Since then, Ken Griffey Jr., Andruw Jones, Ichiro Suzuki, and Torii Hunter have all passed him as well. 

Nonetheless, from the indications available through statistics -- whether the "old-school" kind or sabermetric devices -- Maddox deserved at least the first 7 of those.  By 1982, he did not rank near the top in any of the range categories, so perhaps the last one was earned on reputation.  

Maddox finished out his career in Philadelphia after the 1986 season.  This past winter, the folks at Phillies Nation rated Maddux as the #22 Phillies player of all time based on their contribution to the Phillies as a team, their individual and team achievements as a Phillie, and a combination of the traditional and analytic statistics from baseball.  

By the end of the 1987 season, Maddox was highlighted by Sports Illustrated for his immediate post-career financial acumen and planning -- an article in which he and his financial advisors at IMG placed his net worth at $3 million (which is $6.381,241.86 in today's dollars).  Today's players might scoff at that number, but for the 1980s -- especially in light of the collusion that took place in the 1987 and 1988 off-seasons -- that was doing pretty well.  The quote from that article that I most appreciate is this one from Maddox himself:
There are two kinds of nouveau riche athletes.  Those who spend to make up for everything they never had[, a]nd those who want to hold on to every penny. Being afraid I was going to lose my money motivated me to make sure I knew what was happening to it."
The Message
On July 1, 1982, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released their single "The Message," a song which is credited with being the first prominent hip hop song "to provide a lyrical social commentary."  In that vein, then, this category will honor and highlight those players whose post-baseball careers have included important charitable work.

Garry Maddox today may be more well known by Philadelphia children for his Compete 360 initiative in Philadelphia's public schools.  Maddox hosts a barbecue challenge each year at Citizens Bank Park to support the organization.  The barbecue is in its 13th year now, and it will be held on August 9, 2014.  

Another charitable activity Maddox lends his name to is the Garry Maddox-Drew Katz Celebrity Bowling Classic -- which may or may not be coming back for a 29th year, as the website has not been updated.  Last year featured Mike Schmidt as a celebrity guest.

A Few Minutes with Tony L.
1982 me didn't pay all that much attention to Maddox since he played in the National League.  I recall watching that 1980 World Series and thinking that Maddox covered a lot of ground, but most of my recollection of that Series is dominated by how Pete Rose spiked the ball on the Veterans Stadium turf at the end of each inning.  I mean -- I was only 8 years old during that World Series, and I was cheering for the American League team, the Royals.

That said and from all indications, Garry Maddox has led a successful post-baseball career.  His investments in 1987 were going well, and he parlayed that into far more.  For example, he currently serves as the Principal and CEO of A. Pomerantz & Co., a workplace interior company in Chicago and Philadelphia.    Perhaps even more impressively, starting in 2003, he served a four-year term on the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank Committee.

To me, that is more impressive than the Gold Gloves.  He took the money he was paid -- which was good money but nothing like what players today receive -- and he turned it into a great life for himself and his family through his hard work, determination, and networking. Larry Bowa is quoted as saying that Maddox was "very intelligent and made a lot of contacts. He had a game plan for life after baseball."  

Rather than hopping on the "coach in the minor leagues/hope for a manager's position" gravy train, he used baseball to accomplish other goals in life. 

That is what makes Garry Maddox noteworthy.   

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