Maddux a closet baseball genius

Attention to detail, along with durability, underappreciated athletic skill and the wonders of muscle memory, has allowed Greg Maddux to win 298 games.

Originally Published: July 26, 2004
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Matt Clement doesn't want to be a pest -- really. But when the Chicago Cubs signed Greg Maddux in February, Clement recognized it as a rare opportunity to learn the art of pitching from a future Hall of Famer. So he began asking his new teammate questions in spring training, and one question led to another, and another.

Clement picks Maddux's brain in the dugout, in the film room, on the bus or at the hotel lobby. He'd like to stop out of sheer courtesy, except that Maddux is always accommodating and never fails to come up with an enlightening response.

"To me, he's the most brilliant baseball mind I've ever been near,'' Clement said. "I inquire sometimes about things because this might be the only chance I get to play with a guy like that. I just hope I don't bother him too much.''

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer