Thursday October 10th 1996.
The Cardinals had dropped GM1 of the NLCS to the Braves the night before to John Smoltz at Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium and were facing Greg Maddux. No biggie. He had just won the previous 4 Cy Young Awards in the NL.
The Birds tagged him for 3 runs through 3 and knocked him out of the game with a Grand Slam from Gary Gaetti in the 7th.
Six days later, he dominated the Cardinals. The meat in a loss sandwich breaded by 14-0 and 15-0 duds. The Braves were on to the World Series.
St. Louis was shell shocked.
I hadn't thought much about this series until today. I tried to black it out, I guess. Between the Mark McGwire Era, the Albert Pujols Era and the current run of playoff success, that series feels like a lifetime ago.
And if you're 16 or younger, it was.
But Greg Maddux was elected the Baseball Hall of Fame this afternoon and it spurned me on to look back at not only those games, but some of his career numbers as well.
350+ wins. 5000+ Innings. 104.6 career WAR. .610 win%. Just a total beast.
But he's always, and I mean ALWAYS, been the guy that you actually were never that scared of. The guy that looked like your dad. The guy that was THISSSSS close to getting taken deep. The guy you faced in High School and if you just got a few weeks of cuts in, you're pretty sure you could get a couple base knocks off of right now.
I've read a bunch of articles in my lifetime. Most have been on baseball. I've never been more enlightened than I was this morning from Thomas Boswell of The Washington Post. I think I'll think about pitching a bit different from now on.
Thanks to America's Neighbor Will Leitch for Tweeting it out.