December 8, 2008–It seems like a LONG time ago that Greg and Mike Maddux agreed to a round of golf at Las Vegas golf course DragonRidge Country Club and to be interviewed by two writers from VegasGolfer Magazine. The year was 2001 and amazingly, the topic of how long Maddux, who officially retired today, would continue to play came up during the round. "I'm on extra credit right now," Maddux, then 34, said. "I'd like to play forever and just keep doing it but now I'm just free-rollin'." Now seven years later, Maddux' roll is over and he can play more golf at Las Vegas golf courses. And spend more time planning the Las Vegas golf tournament he annually hosts with Butch Harmon (pictured, L).
Maddux made his retirement official today during a press conference that took place at Las Vegas' Bellagio Hotel, site of Major League Baseball's winter meetings. Maddux, who usually shuns the spotlight and is as down-to-earth as they come, wanted to thank a few people and make everything final. "I'm just here to say thank you to everyone in baseball," Maddux said. "It's going to be hard walking away from baseball, but it's time … I'll miss all of it. I'll miss the game, hitting, pitching, hanging out with the guys, standing at home plate wondering what pitch is coming. The plane rides are fun, playing golf on the road is fun, playing poker with the guys … spring training is always fun, it's where you get to work on baseball stuff."
Maddux, a single-digit handicap, has always been a willing player in many Las Vegas golf tournaments, including Las Vegas' PGA Tour event, now called the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Maddux made an appearance at the junior clinic at Las Vegas golf course TPC Summerlin that was hosted by Timberlake and Harmon. TPC Las Vegas is a past host of the tournament. Maddux, on Harmon's command, threw a perfect strike into a garbage can placed about 40 yards down the practice range. He also played in the pro-am of the tournament. Harmon operates the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Las Vegas' Rio Secco Golf Club.
Maddux also hosts the annual Maddux/Harmon Celebrity Invitational that raises funds and awareness for Maddux' Foundation with money eventually helping worthy Las Vegas organizations such as Safenest, Child Haven, and Candleighters for Childhood Cancer. Celebrities who have played in the event (2008 marked the 8th annual golf tournament) include Fred Couples, Kenny G, Tom Dreeson, Natalie Gulbis, Pete Sampras, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Reggie Jackson, Willie Mays, Ray Romano and many others. This year's tournament was played at Spanish Trail.
True to form, the humble Maddux said that he told several people during spring training that the 2008 season would be his last, but he didn't want a lot of hoopla to surround his retirement. "I pretty much knew during spring training this was it," Maddux, who won 355 games during his career, said at the Bellago. "I told some teammates, I don't know if they believed me, but I didn't want a big dog and pony show … I'm very proud of what I did on the baseball field, but I'd like to think I'm the same person I was 20 years ago."