One story sums up Maddux

One story from Greg Maddux's rookie year sums him up better than all his impressive stats combined.

Updated: August 5, 2004, 3:20 PM ET
By Rick Sutcliffe | Special to ESPN Insider
Greg Maddux and I were teammates on the Chicago Cubs for five years, from his rookie year in 1987 until 1991.

Maddux won an unprecedented four straight Cy Young awards and has posted phenomenal career numbers. But to me, one Greg Maddux story sums up what he's all about.

Maddux struggled as a rookie. In 1988, he began his amazing streak of at least 15 wins per season. But '87 was a different story (he finished 6-14 with a 5.61 ERA). At one point that season -- as I recall, it was early August -- Maddux was told that if he didn't win his next game, he would be sent to the minor leagues.

Rick Sutcliffe serves as an ESPN Major League Baseball analyst, appearing on Wednesday night telecasts, select ESPN Radio broadcasts, as well as Baseball Tonight.