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#pounditTuesday, February 7, 2023

Greg Maddux asked for umpire’s advice on pitch and it worked

Greg Maddux Braves

We all know respected Major League pitchers who have been around the game for years are more apt to get the benefit of the doubt with borderline calls. But what about umpires telling pitchers what pitch to throw? Maybe that’s just a Greg Maddux thing.

In his book “Leo Mazzone’s Tales From the Braves Mound,” former Atlanta Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone told an interesting aside about the time Maddux solicited advice from an umpire on how to get a hitter out — in the middle of an at-bat:

Another time, (Maddux) had the bases loaded in Philadelphia, two out. Jerry Crawford was the second base umpire and he was set up behind the mound. I saw Maddux turn around and talk to Crawford, nod his head, come back, throw a pitch, strike the guy out. He came in and I asked what he and Crawford were talking about. He said, “Well, I just went back off the mound and told Jerry, ‘I don’t know whether to throw this guy a fastball or a change-up. What do you think?’ He said he’d throw a change-up. So I threw him a change-up and struck him out.”

Maddux, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, won four consecutive Cy Young Awards from 1992 to 1995. He was one of the best control pitchers to ever play. The guy won 355 games and struck out 3,371 batters in his 23-year career, so he didn’t exactly need advice from anyone in the middle of a game.

That said, it obviously didn’t hurt in that particular situation. If anyone had earned the right to seek advice from an umpire in the middle of a game, it was Maddux.

H/T Molly Knight


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