Daily News columnist Kevin Modesti takes a provocative stand on the Dodgers' acquisition of Greg Maddux. When he makes his first start, the right-hander with 327 wins on his bubble-gum card will be, in Modesti's words, "the greatest baseball player ever to wear an L.A. uniform."
The greatest L.A. Dodger ever.
All four Hall of Fame indexes at Baseball-Reference.com rank Maddux's statistical accomplishments above those of Sandy Koufax, whose flame burned brighter but briefer, and Don Drysdale and Don Sutton, and cameo Dodgers Pedro Martinez, Juan Marichal and Hoyt Wilhelm.
You take a deep breath before doing this, but you also have to put Maddux ahead of all of the greatest hitters to pass through Dodger Stadium's third-base dugout, everyone from Tommy Davis to Mike Piazza, from Frank Robinson to Eddie Murray.
Not many columnists (or Davis himself, I suspect) would have the chutzpah to include Tommy Davis in that company, but I guess it's Modesti's column. So how does he persuade us that Maddux is a more historically accomplished baseball player than Robinson or Murray were? All he offers is Maddux's stat highlight: seventeen consecutive seasons of fifteen or more wins, and four Cy Young awards. Not enough to gather me into his tent just now, but it's worth pondering if Maddux shows he has something left.
Keen observation: Rich Lederer at Baseball Analysts notices that "Frank McCourt and Jim Tracy are in last place while Paul DePodesta's new employer is in first place." He also recounts a personal appreciation of current hitting star Chase Utley.