Greg Maddux was kind enough to spend some time with me for our Wrigley 100 show. On his Hall of Fame induction day, here’s some of Greg’s thoughts on the Cubs and Wrigley Field:
The biggest thing you remember about Wrigley, you remember the fans a lot, believe it or not. They’re almost like your teammates. They’re so much in your corner. That’s something the other teams don’t have the luxury to experience. When you’re winning it’s great and when you’re losing you know what it’s not so bad. It’s really an honor to wear that uniform and be part of that organization.
You’ve got to keep it in the park. The biggest part of pitch selection is you’ve got to keep it in front of the outfield. That plays in any park. That’s kind of the secret, everybody wants to know the secret, the secret is keep it in front of the outfield and you’ve got a real good chance to win that day.
You don’t want to get too caught up in which way the wind is blowing. There are time where it will go to right but not to left and you’ll try to throw pitches that are more likely to end up in right field than in left field. You do that and it makes it a little difficult at times. You’re probably better off just pitching your game and letting the other pitcher worry about the wind. Just go out there and do your thing.
Really the only thing I tried to do at Wrigley was take advantage of the grass. The grass there is pretty slow, I think it was probably the slowest infield in the league at the time. Obviously when the wind blows out, it’s a great place to hit, when it blows in, it’s probably the best place in the world to pitch. You always want to take advantage of the high grass. It was real hard to get balls through the infield there. That was a big thing. Try to keep it on the ground.
Trust me. I thought about those things every time I pitched there on the mound. It really is an honor to be on that field. The longer I pitched the more I appreciated being there the more I appreciated going there as a visting player. You do think about Babe Ruth hitting there. You think about Ryne Sandberg winning the MVP and hitting all the home runs against the Cardinals that day. You always have flashbacks about things you remember about Wrigley and what was this place like when they played football on it. Where were the goalposts? You think of all those things out there. I think like I said the older I got the more I appreciated being there and just having a little part of history there.
Having my number retired is pretty special. To be able to share that with Fergie was an honor. It’s pretty cool. You sit in your house in Vegas and you watch a Cub game and they go to commercial and they show it, it’s kind of cool. I talk a little smack to the kids.
- Bob Vorwald