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“Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water. The other third is covered by Garry Maddox.” - Ralph Kiner

Born on September 1, 1949 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Garry Maddox was the definition of an athlete. He had blazing speed, incredible hand-eye coordination, and a killer instinct on the field of play. In his youth, his family moved to the suburbs of Los Angeles where he would attend high school and play football, basketball, and baseball.

It did not take long for Maddox to get professionally noticed as San Francisco Giants scout, George Genovese, discovered Maddox’s talents in 1967 and led the campaign to draft him in 1968.

Maddox was brought up to the majors in April 1972, and a month later, was the replacement in centerfield for Willie Mays who had been traded to the New York Mets. Maddox spent three full seasons and part of a fourth in San Francisco. In 1975, the Giants elected to platoon Maddox in center field with lefty batter Von Joshua. Maddox was unhappy with that decision and asked to be traded. The Giants ended up agreeing to terms with the Phillies who sent first baseman Willie Montanez in exchange for Maddox.

Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Network.

Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Network.

In his first season with the Phillies, Maddox batted .291 in 99 games with a range factor per game of 3.06 in center field, the second best in baseball. His defensive performance in ‘75 would award him the first of his eight career Gold Glove Awards.

In his 12 seasons as a Phillie, Maddox slashed .284/.320/.409 with a .729 OPS. He collected 1,333 hits, 566 RBIs, and 1,921 total bases in 1,328 games played with the team.

Here is a look at some of his greatest career achievements:

  • Phillies Wall of Fame
  • 1980 World Series Champion
  • 8x Gold Glove Award winner
  • 1986 Roberto Clemente Award

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  • 4,387 career putouts from centerfield - 18th all time
  • 2.96 range factor per 9 innings - 6th all time amongst outfielders

Maddox put together a string of successful seasons batting a career high .330 in 1976, .292 in 1977, and .288 in 1978, all while winning a Gold Glove in each of those years.

Ironically, in 1978, the Phillies found themselves down 2-1 in the NLCS. Game 4 was a must win or go home situation for the Phils, as they were going up against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The game went into extra innings and in the bottom of the 10th, with two outs, Maddox dropped a line drive into center field that popped off the heel of his glove and fell to the ground.

On the very next play, a ground ball up the middle would eat Maddox up and bounce right by him for the winning run to come home and send the Dodgers to the World Series. A moment that will forever run through the minds of Phillies fans as “what could have been” if their Gold Glove center fielder made the grab off of Dusty Baker’s line drive.

In the 1980 NLCS, Maddox had a shot at redemption but this time with the bat in his hand. In the deciding Game 5 against the Houston Astros, Garry Maddox came to the plate in the top of the 10th inning with two outs and a runner on third. Maddox sent a screaming line drive up the middle to score Del Unser and give the Phillies an 8-7 lead, putting them just three outs away from a World Series berth.

In the bottom of the inning, Maddox caught the second and third outs in center field to secure the victory and bring his playoff story full circle. Maddox was carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates after the game.

Of course the Phillies would go on to win the 1980 World Series in six games against the Kansas City Royals. In those six games, Maddox collected five hits including two doubles while driving in a run and scoring one for himself.

Maddox was a very streaky hitter and found himself slowly regressing offensively over the years, but continued to dominate in the outfield. He won every Gold Glove award from 1975 to 1982, but a series of injuries and struggles on the field shortened his 1983, ‘84, and ‘85 seasons. He played only six games in 1986 before retiring due to a bad back.

After retirement, Maddox set out on many business ventures thanks to his newly obtained degree from Temple University. He also spent many years as an analyst for the Phillies on their cable broadcasts.

Maddox was easily one of the biggest fan favorites in Philadelphia, and his dazzling glove paired with blazing speed made him a marvel to behold. He helped bring the first World Series championship to Philly and has gone down as one of the team’s all time greats. 

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