Maddux is the only pitcher in MLB history to win at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons. In addition, he holds the record for most Gold Gloves with 18. A superb control pitcher, Maddux won more games during the 1990s than any other pitcher and is 8th on the all-time career wins list with 355. Since the start of the post-1920 live-ball era, only Warren Spahn (363) recorded more career wins than Maddux. He is one of only 10 pitchers ever to achieve both 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts, and is the only pitcher to record over 300 wins, over 3,000 strikeouts, and fewer than 1,000 walks.
Since his retirement as a player, Maddux has also served as a special assistant to the general manager for both the Cubs and Texas Rangers. On January 8, 2014, he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, in his first year of eligibility, receiving 97.2% of the votes.
Maddux was born in San Angelo, Texas and spent much of his childhood in Madrid, Spain, where the United States Air Force stationed his father. His father exposed him to baseball at an early age. Upon his return to Las Vegas, Nevada, Maddux and his brother Mike trained under the supervision of Ralph Meder, a former scout from the majors. Meder preached the value of movement and location above velocity, and advised throwing softer when in a jam instead of harder. Maddux would later say, "I believed it. I don't know why. I just did." Though Meder died before Maddux graduated from Valley High School in Las Vegas in 1984, he instilled a firm foundation that would anchor Maddux's future career. Maddux lives in the same community.
Mike Maddux was drafted in 1982. When scouts went to observe the elder Maddux, their father Dave told them, "You will be back later for the little one." Some baseball scouts were unimpressed by Maddux's skinny build, but Chicago Cubs scout Doug Mapson saw past the physique. Mapson wrote a glowing review that read in part, "I really believe this boy would be the number one player in the country if only he looked a bit more physical."