Maddux, a 1984 graduate of Valley High School who has called Las Vegas home since his youth, and Thomas, who bought a home in Henderson in 2002 and has been a full-time resident since retiring in 2008, were both elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Maddux, a right-handed pitcher who won 355 games and four consecutive Cy Young Awards during a 23-year-career, received 97.2 percent of the vote, falling just short of Tom Seaver’s all-time mark of 98.84 percent. Thomas, one of baseball’s most productive hitters who batted .301 with 521 home runs and 1,704 RBIs and won two MVP awards over 19 seasons, appeared on 83.7 percent of the ballots.
Maddux and Thomas will be enshrined—along with Maddux’s longtime teammate, pitcher Tom Glavine, and legendary managers Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox—on July 27 in Cooperstown, New York.
Vegas Seven interviewed Maddux in April 2011, during which he talked about the durability and consistency that allowed him to accumulate the incredible statistics he amassed while pitching for the Cubs, Braves, Dodgers and Padres. “I feel very proud of the career I had,” Maddux said. “I feel good about the longevity of my career. … I only won 20 games twice out of 23 seasons, and you would think to win as many games as I did, you would probably have to win 20 games a year more [often] than I did, but you don’t. You just have to make your starts. If you pitch pretty good and you win half of your starts, if you’re lucky enough to make 600 starts, there’s your 300 wins right there.”
Nearly a year after speaking with Maddux, we caught up with Thomas, who was promoting his new business venture, Big Hurt Beer. Thomas, who spent the majority of his career with the Chicago White Sox, acknowledged how much making it to Cooperstown would mean to him: “Making the Hall of Fame when I’m eligible in 2014 would be the final chapter, in my mind—to get into that hallowed Hall and be recognized as one of the greatest players of all time.”