The Phillies Nation Top 100: #22 Garry Maddox

The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #22. Our mission is to assess the Top 100 Phillies players of all time using impact to the Phillies, individual achievement, team achievement, traditional stats, and analytics as our criteria. The list was compiled by Ian Riccaboni and Pat Gallen with input from the rest of the Phillies Nation staff. 

From this point forward, each weekday, we will reveal two Phillies from the PN Top 100 in separate posts. To view the players listed thus far, please click here. To view the 2008 iteration of the list of Greatest Phillies of All Time as compiled by Tim Malcolm, please click here.

Please check back this afternoon for #21.

http://nbchardballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/garry-maddox.jpg%3Fw%3D267#22 – Garry Maddox

Years: 1975-1986

.284/.320/.409, 85 HR, 189 SB in 5039 PA

Previous Rank: 26 (+4)

fWAR Phillies Rank: 21st among position players, 29th among Phillies

“Two-thirds of the world is covered by water. The other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox.”

– Harry Kalas, 1975

At 6’3″, 175 lbs, the Secretary of Defense was one of the smoothest, and best, defensive center fielders in Major League history. The winner of eight-straight Gold Gloves from 1975 through 1982, Maddox’s defensive play often looked effortless and secured the Phillies approximately five and a half wins in parts of 12 seasons in Philadelphia. Maddox led the NL in Total Zone Runs in 1976 and 1979, put outs in center in 1976 and 1979, assists in center 1975 and 1976, Total Zone Runs as a center fielder in 1976, 1978, 1979, and 1980, and led the NL in range factor as a center fielder in 1975, 1976, 1978, and 1979.

And somehow, Maddox was even more than that. Maddox was acquired from the San Francisco for Willie Montanez on May 4, 1975 and made an instant impact. Maddox would steal 24 bases in 27 chances, hitting .291/.359/.433 with the Phillies en route to his first Gold Glove season. Maddox would follow ’75 with an even-better 1976, having the absolute best season of his career hitting .330/.377/.456 with six homers, 29 steals, and his second straight Gold Glove. Maddox finished fifth in NL MVP voting, one of five Phillies in the top 16, and contributed to the Phillies’ first playoff appearance since 1950.

From 1975 through 1986, Maddox led center fielders in FanGraphs’ version of defensive runs saved. Maddox ranked fourth among his NL contemporary center fielders in WAR while with the Phillies, eighth in batting average, 14th in SLG, and fifth in steals.

Despite Maddox’s stellar defensive reputation, Maddox would have two errors in the tenth inning of Game 4 of the 1978 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Maddox would misplay a Dusty Baker flyball and, then, a Bill Russell single. The end result was Ron Cey scoring the pennant-winning run on Russell’s single, ending the Phillies 1978 season. Just two years later, however, Maddox would redeem himself by driving home a go-ahead, and eventual pennant-winning, run of his own in the tenth inning of Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS. Maddox would appear six times in the playoffs with the Phillies, hitting .271/.307/.374, including the eventual game-winning homer of Game 1 of the 1983 World Series.

Maddox is one of the rare defensive talents that passed the eye test during his time whose successes are supported by modern, advanced statistics. Maddox remains one of the most underrated contributors to the 1980 World Series-winning club.



  1. Dave

    February 12, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    FYI…that quote was from Ralph Kiner not Harry Kalas.

    • schmenkman

      February 12, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Wikipedia (for what it’s worth) credits Kalas:

      “Maddox’s 1975 Gold Glove was his first of eight in a row. His sparkling defensive play led Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas to remark, “Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox.”, which was an original quote reported by Ray Didinger at the Bulletin in a 1975 article (This quote has also been less frequently attributed to Ralph Kiner, as he quoted Didinger’s 1975 article the Hall-of-Fame slugger-turned-broadcaster for the New York Mets.) Kalas nicknamed Maddox the “Secretary of Defense.””


  2. Chris

    February 12, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Schmenkman…do you live on this site?

    • schmenkman

      February 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      I visit here, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on what else is going on.

    • wbramh

      February 12, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      He just keeps a cot.

      • Lefty

        February 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm

        You mean like the contract guy? I was wondering why he named his site Cot’s. Keeping up with all those numbers must be a 24 hour a day job.

  3. PamikeyDC

    February 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Schmenkman is so valuable to this site. I follow his write ups very closely. Knows his stuff.

  4. mudmin

    February 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I remember watching the game in May of 86 as a little kid when Garry decided to retire. To this day I can remember Harry Kalas saying, “Garry Maddox has decided to hang up his spikes.” Pretty crazy considering that was 28 years ago. He was one of those links to some of the glory days that we had during my early childhood.

  5. Lefty

    February 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    This is just conjecture, but I think when Harry made that 2/3- 1/3 statement, he was partly talking about how Maddox had to play over five seasons next to Greg Luzinski in left. The Bull could hit a ball a long way, but wasn’t what you’d call “fleet of foot”.

    In my mind’s eye, the only center-fielder that even came close to Maddox defensively back then was Paul Blair. And despite all the arguments I get, I still think Garry was better than Mantle or Mays. There may be a few that were as good since then, but not by much.

    • Jay

      February 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      You are absolutely right on Lefty…one of my earliest Phillies memories was my grandfather cursing at the Bull’s lack of defensive skills lol

      • Jay (another one)

        February 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm

        Sadly I was in the left field stands on Black Friday, when Mota’s (right?) hit clanked off Bull’s glove. To be fair, he was only in the game b/c Ozark had one of his many brain farts and forgot to put Jerry Martin in there for defense.

    • mudmin

      February 12, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      Just think about it…if Bull was faster, he would have gotten to more balls and botched them.

  6. Jay

    February 12, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Fortunately for me my baseball formative years were the mid-70s to early 80s, and I got to witness some stellar defense during that time — Trillo, Bowa, Schmidt, Boone, Kaat, etc. But Maddox was just in a class by himself. Anything hit in the air anywhere near center field was going to be caught, you just knew it. I can’t remember anything hit over his head. Ever.

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