All great careers must come to an end, and for pitcher Greg Maddux, that end will come at baseball's winter meetings in his hometown of Las Vegas.
According to a release from his agent Scott Boras, Maddux will officially retire his resin bag with a Monday press conference and then start the countdown to his surefire Hall of Fame induction in 2014.
A master manipulator in an era when batters got bigger and faster — often by artificial means — Maddux will retire with 355 wins and a 3.16 ERA in the 5,000 innings he spread across 23 seasons. He won four Cy Youngs, 18 Gold Gloves and was named an All-Star eight times. He'll most likely finish one career victory ahead of Rogers Clemens, which somehow seems very, very just.
While I'm sure some clown will find a reason to leave him off his ballot ("But did he ever pitch a no-hitter?"... "Did he ever throw 200 Ks in a season more than once?), its says here that the Hall of Fame would be hard pressed to find a better candidate than Mad Dog to become its first-ever unanimous first-ballot inductee.
But whether or not he garners 100 percent is immaterial. He had a great career and it was certainly all our pleasure in being able to watch him. Please join the Stew in starting a slow-clap for Mr. Maddux and be sure to share your tributes in the comments below.