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Bill Madlock

April 11, 2003

In talking about his career, Bill Madlock neglected to say a thing about his personal accomplishments. Not a word. So we will.

Four National League batting titles. Averages in those seasons of .354, .339, .341, and .323. One of only 11 players to bat over .300 ten times. 2008 hits for his career, with 348 doubles, 134 home runs and 860 RBIs.

A 1975 All-Star Game MVP (shared with John Matlack), three NLCS appearances, highlighted by a 1985 performance for Los Angeles against St. Louis, in which he hit .333, with 3 homers and 7 RBIs.

And of course, 1979, the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, "we are fam-a-lee," and all that.

Without a second's hesitation, Madlock cited the '79 Series as the highlight of his career: "Any time you win something as a team, and of course to get a chance to play with Willie Stargell was just great."

"Mad Dog" hit .375 in the 1979 Series, with 4 hits in the series turning fifth game. Baltimore won three of the first four, the Bucs games 5, 6 and 7.

"I loved San Francisco because I got a chance to play with Willie McCovey. I loved Chicago because I loved playing with Billy Williams. But the Pirates, any time you win, and getting a chance to play with guys like Dave Parker, Stargell and Ed Ott was truly a treat…Chuck Tanner was my favorite manager. He was just unbelievable."

After retiring from Major League Baseball in 1987, Madlock played in Japan for a year before getting into coaching. Stops included two years in Detroit as batting instructor for the Tigers, a stint with the Class A Battle Creek club, and a AAA batting coach position with the Buffalo Bisons.

Madlock worked as an on-field operations supervisor for the Commissioner's office in recent years, and has been regularly involved with international baseball and alumni association activities.

Living in nearby Fairfield, Connecticut in the winter of 2003, Madlock was a logical name-guy choice to manage the defending champion Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, and that's where he is now.

In the ALPB, Mad Dog and coach Billy Ashley will go up against the likes of the Atlantic City Surf, the Long Island Ducks and the Nashua Pride, and join Bud Harrelson, Sparky Lyle, Butch Hobson, Willie Upshaw and Rick Cerone as former major leaguers involved with the league.

Given the opportunity to plug a personal project, Madlock chose to thank the men and women of the Armed Forces.

"I think they're doing a fantastic job, and I don't think people realize what a great country we live in. If you've never been out of the country, sometimes you don't know how special it is, and sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do."

About fellow batting titlist Pete Rose, Madlock said this: "Pete's a good friend of mine. I just want what's best for the game. Let's put it this way, if he gets in I won't be disappointed, if it stays the same I won't be disappointed either."

Howard Cole


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