Joe Maddon

From BR Bullpen


Joseph John Maddon

BR Manager page

Biographical Information[edit]

Joe Maddon was the manager of the Chicago Cubs starting in 2015 and led the Cubs to the World Series Championship in 2016 - their first in 108 years. Maddon also managed the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays, most notably in 2008 when the Rays won the American League pennant. In 2015, Maddon was named the NL Manager of the Year, the third time he had won the award. In 2020, he returned to manage the Angels, who he had only managed on an interim basis before that, but was unable to get them over the hump.

He was converted to a catcher while at Lafayette College by Norm Gigon. Maddon was signed by the California Angels as a free agent and played for the Quad Cities Angels (1976), Salinas Angels (1977-1978), and Santa Clara Padres (1979). He scouted for a time, signing Kirk McCaskill and Tim Salmon for the team.

Maddon managed in the Angels farm system for six years, from 1981 to 1986. He served as the Angels' minor league roving hitting instructor from 1987 to 1993. He was a coach with the Anaheim Angels/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from 1994 to 2005. He also served as the club's interim manager on two occasions.

Maddon was named skipper of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beginning with the 2006 season. He led the re-named Rays to their first winning record and postseason appearance in 2008, taking the young team all the way to the 2008 World Series, where they were beaten in five games by the Philadelphia Phillies. He was named American League Manager of the Year for his performance that season. In 2009, the Rays had another winning season, but finished third behind the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in the AL East, missing the postseason. In 2010, however, they had the best record in the American League. However, they lost a tightly-fought five-game series with the Texas Rangers in the ALDS and after the season, the team was re-shaped after fixtures Carlos Lee, Rafael Soriano, Joaquin Benoit and Carl Crawford left via free agency while Matt Garza was traded. Maddon did another tremendous job in 2011, rebuilding his bullpen from scratch and working around the early retirement of slugger Manny Ramirez after he failed a drug test in early April, to lead the Rays into the postseason for the third time. He was able to coax a lot of production out of unheralded players such as Sam Fuld and Sean Rodriguez, around a trademark very strong group of starting pitchers, keeping his team within sight of the leaders, and then leading them on a charge in September when the Boston Red Sox began to falter. The Rays caught and passed the Sox on the season's last day, then upset the Rangers in the first game of the ALDS before finally running out of magic tricks. In 2013, he once again confounded expectations by managing to steer the Rays into the postseason where they eliminated the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card Game before falling to the heavily-favored Red Sox in the Division Series.

As a manager, Maddon is known for maintaining an unusually tight bond with his players. A good example was when the Rays first made the postseason in 2008, many players decided to sport a mohawk haircut for luck - and Maddon joined in. He also started the practice of "theme" road trips, where all members of the team will do something unusual, such as wear specially tailored loud sports jackets in the team colors, or dress as if heading to a slumber party. He has also been known for making unusual choices in putting together his line-up. In 2010, he had catcher John Jaso leading off for a good portion of the year, and in 2012 he handed in a few line-up cards with slugging 1B Carlos Pena batting lead-off and unheralded middle infielder Jeff Keppinger in the clean-up spot. In an interleague game in 2011, he had OF Sam Fuld, who had just pinch hit for his pitcher, take warm-up tosses on the mound the following inning, in order to buy more time to allow the reliever he really wanted to see pitch come into the game; MLB had to change the relevant rule after the season to prevent imitators. He is so unpredictable that when he was forced to bat pitcher Andy Sonnanstine third during a game in 2009, because of an incorrectly filled line-up card, many observers thought that it was, once again, some sort of deliberate move. That is because there is usually method to his madness, as many of his seemingly strange decisions are in fact based on studying computer printouts of batter and pitcher tendencies and match-ups. As a result, he was the first manager to systematically use defensive shifts against opposite batters, when their use had been sporadic before; he was soon imitated by many of his peers. Part of his way of thinking is that he likes to keep the opposing manager wondering what he will come up with next, something which was characteristic of managers such as Earl Weaver and Gene Mauch in an earlier era. However, if those two were high-strung and intense personalities, Maddon is quite laid-back and knows how to keep things in perspective, making him extremely well-liked by his players.

In a surprise move, Maddon announced his resignation on October 24, 2014, a short time after GM Andrew Friedman had left the team to join the front office of the Los Angeles Dodgers. New GM Matt Silverman had to advise him that there was an opt-out clause in his contract, and after a short reflection, he decided to exercise it, marking the end of a period of success for a team that was a laughingstock before Friedman and Maddon came on board. He explained that he felt he had been underpaid for years and was now available for any team that wanted to hire him at the right price - although almost all managerial openings for the coming season were already filled at that point. However, rumors quickly began circulating that the Chicago Cubs were interested in his services and were ready to drop current manager Rich Renteria after only one season to create an opening for Maddon, rumors which found their confirmation when Renteria was fired on October 31st to make way for Maddon, who was introduced at a press conference on November 3rd. He signed a five-year deal worth $25 million. He immediately professed optimism, stating that he did not see why the last-place club could not contend for the postseason in his first year. The Rays accused the Cubs of tampering in raiding their long-time manager, but after an investigation that took almost six months, the Commissioner's office rejected the charges.

Maddon had a fabulous first season at the helm of the Cubs in 2015 as he turned the cellar-dwellers into one of the strongest teams in the major leagues by successfully integrating top prospects such as 3B Kris Bryant, SS Addison Russell and C/OF Kyle Schwarber to the line-up. The Cubs finished third in the NL Central only because the two teams ahead of them, the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates finished with the best two records in the major leagues that year, with the Cubs completing the trifecta. Riding the magic arm of ace Jake Arrieta, the Cubs then went into PNC Park to shut out the Pirates in the Wild Card Game and stunned the Cardinals in four games in the Division Series. The magic season ended in the NLCS when they were swept at the hands of the New York Mets.

The 2016 season saw Maddon lead the Cubs to historic heights as Wrigley Field fans saw their first World Series title since 1908, ending the curse in what was also the Cubs' first World Series appearance since 1945. He continued to use various quirks in leading his team to the big prize, such as batting his pitcher in the 8th spot regularly, rotating three starting catchers - Miguel Montero, David Ross and Willson Contreras - including in the postseason, and relying heavily on ace reliever Aroldis Chapman in the postseason. Another bold move was to give Schwarber a key role in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians after he had missed practically the entire season and postseason until that point. In 2017, he became the first manager to issue a no-pitch Intentional walk as he called for one to be issued to Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals in the bottom of the 9th inning with the score tied at 3 on opening day, April 2nd. On May 16th, he won his 1000th career game as manager when the Cubs defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 9-5. After a mediocre start, the Cubs pulled away in the second half to win a second consecutive title. They then eliminated the Washington Nationals in a tightly-fought Division Series, using some dramatic late-game magic to record the upset. However, in the NLCS, the Los Angeles Dodgers were simply too strong and stopped the Cubs in five games. Still, it was another successful season that added to Maddon's legend as one of the greatest managers around. 2018 was another disappointment in that the Cubs never turned their superiority on paper into dominance in the standings. They ended up having to play a one-game playoff against the Milwaukee Brewers for the division title - which they lost - and then also lost the Wild Card Game, against the Colorado Rockies. This made for a deflating end to the season, and raised some questions about whether the budding dynasty that seemed about to bloom after the great 2015 and 2016 seasons was just withering away. Indeed, there was more disappointment in 2019 as the Cubs once again failed to take advantage of opportunities to build a lead in the early going and got bogged down in a three-team race for first place in the division, until suffering an utter collapse in September that left them completely out of the postseason. Team President Theo Epstein had made it clear even before these events that he would be looking for a new direction going forward, so Maddon was told at the end of the season that his contract would not be renewed, ending an historic tenure in Chicago.

He did not sit idle for long as it soon became clear that his original organization, the Angels, were interested in his services, having just fired Brad Ausmus after only one season. It was clearly a match that was meant to be, and on October 16th, it became official as he was offered a three year contract to manage the team, starting in 2020. His first two seasons at the helm were a disappointment as the team finished below .500 both years, in spite of a star-laden line-up that featured OF Mike Trout (who missed most of 2021 through injury), Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon. The pitching was missing in action, however, and the front office was tempted to get rid of Maddon before the 2022 season, but in the end decided to give him another chance. It seemed to be a smart move as the team got off to a solid start, going 27-17 through 44 games - before everything collapsed with a 12-game losing streak. The Angels had fallen two games below .500 when Maddon was fired on June 7th, replaced on an interim basis by coach Phil Nevin.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 3-time Manager of the Year Award (2008/AL, 2011/AL & 2015/NL)
  • Division Titles: 4 (2008, 2010, 2016 & 2017)
  • Other Postseason Appearances: 4 (2011, 2013, 2015 & 2018 - Wild Card)
  • League Pennants: 2 (2008/AL & 2016/NL)
  • 100 Wins Seasons as Manager: 1 (2016)
  • Managed one World Series Champions with the Chicago Cubs (2016)

Preceded by
John McNamara
California Angels Manager
Succeeded by
Terry Collins
Preceded by
Terry Collins
Anaheim Angels Manager
Succeeded by
Mike Scioscia
Preceded by
Lou Piniella
Tampa Bay Devil Rays Manager
Succeeded by
Kevin Cash
Preceded by
Rich Renteria
Chicago Cubs Manager
Succeeded by
David Ross
Preceded by
Brad Ausmus
Los Angeles Angels Manager
Succeeded by
Phil Nevin

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1981 Idaho Falls Angels Pioneer League 27-43 7th California Angels
1982 Salem Angels Northwest League 34-36 2nd California Angels League Champs
1983 Salem Angels Northwest League 31-39 7th California Angels
1984 Peoria Chiefs Midwest League 66-73 8th California Angels
1985 Midland Angels Texas League 59-77 8th California Angels
1986 Midland Angels Texas League 62-71 6th California Angels
1996 California Angels American League 8-14 -- California Angels replaced Marcel Lachemann (52-59)
and John McNamara (5-9) on August 21 /
replaced by John McNamara on September 13
1999 Anaheim Angels American League 19-10 4th Anaheim Angels replaced Terry Collins on September 3
2006 Tampa Bay Devil Rays American League 61-101 5th Tampa Bay Devil Rays
2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays American League 66-96 5th Tampa Bay Devil Rays
2008 Tampa Bay Rays American League 97-65 1st Tampa Bay Rays Lost World Series
2009 Tampa Bay Rays American League 84-78 3rd Tampa Bay Rays
2010 Tampa Bay Rays American League 96-66 1st Tampa Bay Rays Lost ALDS
2011 Tampa Bay Rays American League 91-71 2nd Tampa Bay Rays Lost ALDS
2012 Tampa Bay Rays American League 90-72 3rd Tampa Bay Rays
2013 Tampa Bay Rays American League 92-71 2nd Tampa Bay Rays Lost ALDS
2014 Tampa Bay Rays American League 77-85 4th Tampa Bay Rays
2015 Chicago Cubs National League 97-65 3rd Chicago Cubs Lost NLCS
2016 Chicago Cubs National League 103-58 1st Chicago Cubs Won World Series
2017 Chicago Cubs National League 92-70 1st Chicago Cubs Lost NLCS
2018 Chicago Cubs National League 95-68 2nd Chicago Cubs Lost Wild Card Game
2019 Chicago Cubs National League 84-78 3rd Chicago Cubs
2020 Los Angeles Angels American League 26-34 4th Los Angeles Angels
2021 Los Angeles Angels American League 77-85 4th Los Angeles Angels
2022 Los Angeles Angels American League 27-29 -- Los Angeles Angels replaced by Phil Nevin on June 7

Further Reading[edit]

  • Bill Chastain and Jesse Rogers: Try Not to Suck: The Exceptional, Extraordinary Baseball Life of Joe Maddon, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2018. ISBN 978-1629374765
  • Steve Gardner: "Joe Maddon out as Los Angeles Angels manager as losing streak hits 12 games", USA Today, June 7, 2022. [1]
  • Richard Justice: "Peerless leader: Maddon's style unique, unprecedented. After building winning culture with Rays, creative skipper reaches peak with Cubs",, November 3, 2016. [2]
  • David Kaplan: The Plan: Epstein, Maddon, and the Audacious Blueprint for a Cubs Dynasty, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2017. ISBN 9781629373263
  • Joe Maddon and Tom Verducci: The Book of Joe: Trying Not to Suck at Baseball and Life, Twelve Books, New York, NY, 2022. ISBN 978-1538751794
  • Carrie Muskat: "What a difference a year makes for Maddon",, January 16, 2016. [3]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Rays manager marches to a different beat", USA Today Sports, June 11, 2013. [4]
  • Bob Nightengale: "High expectations come with Joe Maddon as Cubs manager", USA Today, November 3, 2014. [5]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Cubs bring manager Joe Maddon back for 2019, but don't offer extension", USA Today, October 3, 2018. [6]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Joe Maddon trying to stay cool but it may be World Series or bust for his future", USA Today' December 12, 2018. [7]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Despite uncertain future, Cubs manager Joe Maddon embraces 2019: 'Loving every freaking second of it'", USA Today, April 29, 2019. [8]
  • Bob Nightengale: "As stint with Cubs comes to an end, Joe Maddon has no regrets: 'It's been fabulous'", USA Today, September 29, 2019. [9]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Angels hire Joe Maddon as next manager", USA Today, October 16, 2019. [10]
  • Joey Nowak: "Maddon holds court, talks playoffs during intro: Cubs' new manager doesn't mince words at news conference",, November 3, 2014. [11]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Unorthodox manager Joe Maddon brings Cubs optimism", USA Today Sports, February 20, 2015. [12]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Cubs' Joe Maddon wins NL Manager of the Year award", USA Today Sports, November 17, 2015. [13]
  • Sarah Wexler: "Angels dismiss Maddon amid extended losing streak",, June 8, 2022. [14]

Related Sites[edit]