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Sutcliffe fondly remembers young Maddux

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CHICAGO -- Former Cubs All-Star pitcher and 1984 National League Cy Young Award winner Rick Sutcliffe remembers watching Greg Maddux pitch when he first joined Chicago in 1986.

There was one game when someone hit a ball that should've resulted in a triple, but the hitter stopped at second. That seemed puzzling to Sutcliffe. Maddux had been struggling, and Sutcliffe had experienced something similar his second year with the Dodgers. Apparently, Maddux was tipping his pitches, and the runner at second could send a message to his teammates.

Sutcliffe, Maddux and pitching coach Dick Pole figured out what was happening, and obviously, the young pitcher developed a plan.

"When the next season started, Greg would show the runner at second his changeup, and then he'd change it to a fastball," Sutcliffe said Friday. "You'd see people in the opposing dugout, saying, 'What's going on?' It turned everything around for him."

Maddux went on to win 355 games, strike out 3,371 batters and win four NL Cy Young Awards, and on Sunday, he'll be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Coverage begins at 11 a.m. CT with MLB Tonight live from Cooperstown on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com and the At Bat app, with the induction ceremony beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The Cubs have a contingent in Cooperstown to help celebrate Maddux's induction, including chairman Tom Ricketts.

Maddux wasn't just a good pitcher, he was a great teammate. Sutcliffe recalled the July 1987 game when Padres pitcher Eric Show hit Andre Dawson in the head with a pitch as payback. Maddux was pitching that game, and had every intention of hitting the first batter he faced the next inning. But Maddux knew before the game that he was headed to the Minors if he didn't win that day.

"[Maddux] says, 'I don't care if I ever get another win, I'm hitting the first guy,'" Sutcliffe said. "He hit Benito Santiago at 95 miles an hour. I don't know if he ever threw a pitch any harder than that. He gained the respect of everyone he played with by doing that."

Maddux had his locker next to Sutcliffe, who said it eventually got to the point where the young pitcher was teaching Sutcliffe about the game.

There is one thing, though, that always irked Sutcliffe.

"It used to make [Ryne] Sandberg and I so mad -- we'd go out to the parking lot and people would go crazy [for autographs]," Sutcliffe said. "Greg would put on that Mickey Mouse hat of his and walk right through the fans to his apartment. They'd say, 'It's the bat boy -- I'm not going to bother the bat boy.' Shoot, you're talking about a Cy Young winner there."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["hall_of_fame" ] }
{"event":["hall_of_fame" ] }
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