Maddux, Mussina honored by NY baseball writers

Updated: January 26, 2009, 3:57 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Turns out, Greg Maddux and Mike Mussina have a little something left.

At the microphone, that is -- not on the mound.

Maddux and Mussina were honored at the 86th annual New York baseball writers' dinner Sunday night, months after both star pitchers announced their retirements.

Maddux was presented with his record 18th Gold Glove by former pitcher Jim Kaat, who shared the previous mark of 16 with third baseman Brooks Robinson. The 355-game winner also took home the William J. Slocum Award for long and meritorious service from the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

After 23 major league seasons, Maddux called it quits last month during a news conference at the winter meetings in his hometown of Las Vegas. He received a standing ovation Sunday night from a packed crowd in the ballroom of a Manhattan hotel.

"I always enjoyed coming to the ballpark," Maddux said. "I'm definitely going to miss it."

The right-hander also was recognized for being voted onto Rawlings' 50th anniversary Gold Glove team in 2007.

Mussina received his 2008 Gold Glove, and the Casey Stengel You Could Look It Up Award after becoming the oldest pitcher to win 20 games for the first time. At 39, he went 20-9 with a 3.37 ERA for the New York Yankees last season, then announced his retirement in November.

"Thanks for having me back in New York. I didn't think I'd be back this fast, but I'm back," he said. "It was a great run. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Best move I ever made, coming to New York."

Among those joining Maddux and Mussina on the dais were ace Cole Hamels and closer Brad Lidge of the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Hamels was voted the Babe Ruth Award as the chapter's World Series MVP. Lidge, who converted all 48 save chances this year -- including seven in the postseason -- won the Sid Mercer Player of the Year Award.

"Someday I'll look back and say that 2008 was the greatest year ever," Lidge said, mentioning the birth of his son in December.

San Francisco pitcher Tim Lincecum and Cleveland lefty Cliff Lee picked up their Cy Young Awards, while St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols and Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia collected their MVP trophies.

"I'm the only one here that doesn't need to bend over and talk into this mike," said the 5-foot-9 Pedroia, the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year. "Thanks for not booing me. I remember last year you guys gave it to me pretty good."

Mets third baseman David Wright got the Joan Payson Award for community service, and Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon was honored with the Ben Epstein-Dan Castellano Good Guy Award.

In a videotaped message, Damon joked about winning and then not being able to attend the dinner -- because of a previous charity commitment.

"When I heard that I got the good guy award I was speechless for once," he said. "Somehow, you guys still think I'm nice."

Ex-Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams broke out his guitar and played his own "melancholy" rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

A standing ovation also went to baseball writer Bob Klapisch of The Record (New Jersey) and, who received the Milton Richman You Gotta Have Heart Award.

Klapisch suffered a severe eye injury last year when he was struck by a comebacker while pitching for his amateur team. Following several operations, and still missing much of his vision in one eye, Klapisch returned to covering big league baseball before the season was over.

"Thanks to all of you who would indulge a sports writer receiving an award as prestigious as this," he said. "I have a lot more friends than I ever knew."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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