Dubbed “The Secretary of Defense,” Maddox had such range in the outfield that Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner commented, “Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox.” Maddox’s speed and ability to go back on the ball enabled him to play shallow and catch many short flies that would otherwise have been hits. Using an unorthodox, spread-out batting stance, he established himself as a low-ball hitter who would seldom walk. When rookie Gary Matthews joined Maddox and Bobby Bonds in 1973, San Francisco had one of baseball’s best outfields. Maddox batted .319 in 1973, reached double figures in doubles, triples, HR, and steals, and had a career-high 76 RBI.
In 1975 Maddox was dealt to the Phillies for Willie Montanez and won the first of eight straight Gold Gloves; only Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays won more in the OF. For the following decade, Maddox was the centerfielder for one of baseball’s most dominant teams. Through 1980, he had to compensate for slow-footed left fielder Greg Luzinski. In 1976 he batted a career-high .330, and led the NL in outfield putouts (he led again in 1978). His 10th-inning, game-winning double in Game Five of the 1980 LCS put Philadelphia in the World Series for the first time since 1950. Injuries, particularly a bad back, curtailed his playing time beginning in 1982. He retired in May 1986.