By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The fun-loving Joe Maddon hit a personal milestone worthy of an extended postgame celebration Tuesday night, with his Cubs’ 9-5 win against the Reds at Wrigley Field giving him 1,000 career victories as a big league manager.
The 63-year-old Maddon became the eighth active manager to win 1,000 games. After the win, the Cubs toasted Maddon, known for years as an outside-the-box thinker.
“To the players who were involved, I want to say a big thank you,” said Maddon, who had stints as the Angels’ interim manager in the 1990s, then managed the Rays for nine seasons before coming to the Cubs ahead of the 2015 season.
“I was raised well. A lot of people, beginning with my folks and coaches, I was fortunate to have good folks around me. I was always willing to take a chance. We never got stuck in traditional methods. Fortune does favor the bold. I say tell me what you think, not what you have heard. Regurgitation is a big part of our society, and I prefer the free thinkers.”
This win lifted the Cubs back to .500 at 19-19 and pulled them within 2.5 games of the NL Central-leading Cardinals. A 13-hit sparked the Cubs on this night and was a pleasant gift for Maddon, as his team had lost seven of its last nine games entering Tuesday.
Lead-off man Kyle Schwarber — whom Maddon expressed the utmost confidence in earlier in the day despite his .179 batting average — broke out of an 0-for-17 slump with a 462-foot homer in the second inning and a hit in a two-run sixth inning.
“This was a good game all around,” Schwarber said. “I stuck with the same approach, and good things happened. A home run is a home run. It doesn’t matter if it goes to the basket or go out of the stadium. Homer is a homer, and it is always a good feeling.”
Epstein doesn’t earn his $10 million a year for no reason.He like Maddon, know what kind of superior talent they have up and down the roster. In fact, the Cubs started seven players with just two years of major league service time or less in this game.
Schwarber had one of Chicago’s four homers, with Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and rookie Ian Happ hitting the other. The Cubs are 11-3 when hitting two or more homers this season.
“It was great to be a part of,” Schwarber said of Maddon reaching 1,000 wins. “For him to do it today was obviously very special. It was well deserved. He is a great manager and great to play for.”
Continuing Maddon’s charitable efforts, his “Respect 90” foundation will donate 1,000 meals to the homeless in the Chicago and Tampa areas to commemorate his wins milestone.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.