As a pairing, there never has been one like the Atlanta Braves’ Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux — two 300-game winners, neither a strikeout king — and with the ever-increasing emphasis on power pitching, perhaps there never will be again.
Six Cy Youngs and 660 victories between the Hall of Famers. As a tandem they powered the Braves to nine of the Braves’ 14 consecutive division titles, and one or the other had a hand in three of the remaining five. Other splendid pitchers were part of the great run, most notably John Smoltz, but these two became the tent poles of a rotation now regarded as arguably the best there ever was.
Batters never trembled at the thought of facing Maddux or Glavine. They knew they wouldn’t take a golden sombrero and strike out four times. Instead they’d go 0-for-4 with three groundouts to second base.
Glavine and Maddux made the absence of velocity the baseball equivalent of jiu-jitsu. As Maddux once said: “You stand in the middle of the road and a car’s coming at you. Can you tell how fast it’s going? Can you tell if it’s going 55 or 60? You can’t. It’s the same standing in the middle of the diamond trying to hit a baseball. As a pitcher, you’re better off making 75 look like 85 instead of making 87 look like 90.”