Dave Maddux helped his sons reach the majors

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

Happy Father's Day to you, too.

Dave Maddux was like so many other sandlot fathers.

He hit his ground balls to his offspring, worked on pitching mechanics and hit fly balls.

It didn't matter whether the family was living in Riverside, Calif., Madrid, Spain, at the U.S. Air Force Base at Torrejon or in Las Vegas.

"Our father is the reason we were both able succeed in the profession we're in," said his son, Milwaukee Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux. "If he wasn't around, he left us with a whiffle ball and we played games with that."

Dave Maddux was a senior master sargent in the U.S. Air Force. When Mike was 15, after staying away from the matadors and the soccer balls during the four-year tour of Spain, the Maddux family moved to Vegas.

Mike pitched 15 years in the majors, compiling a record of 39-37. Mike awoke in Toronto this morning.

His younger brother, Greg Maddux, awoke in New York as the Chicago Cubs prepared to play the New York Yankees.

Greg has won 310 games, losing only 178 in this his 20th season, as he moves toward Cooperstown.

Every father wants the best for his son. There aren't many fathers of major-leaguers and there are even fewer fathers who have two sons make the majors.

"I was interviewed by some mathematician from California once and he told me that the odds of having two sons make the majors are greater than winning the California State lottery," Dave Maddux said from Vegas yesterday. "I told him: 'Given the choice between winning the lottery and having the two sons I have, I'll take the two sons.' "

Knuckleballing brothers Phil and Joe Niekro won a total of 539 games, while Gaylord and Jim Perry combined to win 529. The Maddux total is 349 and counting.

Dave was there to see Mike, a fifth-round draft choice out of the University of Texas at El Paso, face Fernando Valenzuela and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia June 3, 1986. Mike gave up four runs in the first.

"I remember he struck out the first hitter," recalled dad of Mike fanning Mariano Duncan. The Phils scored four in the bottom half to tie, Mike retired a man in the second, allowed a run and was lifted, taking the loss in an 11-4 decision.

Mike was told how Charlie Lea pitched a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants in the second game of the double-header at Olympic Stadium in 1981 on Mother's Day. Had Mike ever had any memorable games on Father's Day?

"I pitched a few two-hitters ... you know, everyone in their lineup got two hits each," Mike joked.

Greg made his major-league debut three months later in relief, taking the loss as the Cubs dropped an 8-7 decision to the Houston Astros in 18 innings, giving up a homer to Billy Hatcher on Sept. 2.

Five days later, Greg won his first start, a complete-game 11-2 win over Bill Gullickson and the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium.

"I was pretty excited at that game, Greg's high school was there. We had a bunch of people there," Dave said.

And on Sept. 29, Greg and the Cubs beat Mike and the Phillies 8-3, the first time ever two rookie pitchers had started against each other.

"My father taught us all he knew and then he stepped back. That's what I respect about him the most," Mike said before yesterday's 5-2 win.

Upon arrival in Vegas, pop hooked up Mike with Ralph Meader, a former Cincinnati Reds scout. They'd throw bullpens Tuesday and Thursday and play games on Sundays.

"Every time Mike went to the park, Greg went," Dave said. "One day we showed up and they were short a player. I told Ralph to put Greg out there, he can play outfield."

Greg is 4 1/2 years younger than Mike.

Meader said: "I don't want to get him hurt."

Dave: "He can field his position."

Some 14 Gold Gloves and 300-plus wins later, it was proven once again ... father knows best.

SIGNING

While in town, the Brewers signed right-hander Mark James of Whitby. James, selected in the 14th round by Milwaukee scouting legend Dick Groch, was impressive this spring for the Ontario Blue Jays and the Canadian junior national team.

THE WAY IT WAS

Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals, who one-hit the Blue Jays this week, was removed from Toronto's 40-man roster in the wake of surgery on Sept 4, 2002. That made him a free agent. The Jays figured no one would offer him any guaranteeed money.

When Carpenter made visits to Arlington, Tex., to be wooed by the Texas Rangers and again to St. Louis to talk contract, he had contract offers of guaranteed money from six clubs.

The Cleveland Indians, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Florida Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles were also interested.

That's when the Jays stepped in and made him an offer to sign a minor-league deal, with an incentive-laden contract.

However, it was not the same offer as the Cards. Carpenter took the best deal, as anyone else would: $300,000 US guaranteed for 2003 and 2004, with a $200,000 bonus after his first appearance. St. Louis held an option for 2005 for $2 million, which they picked up.


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