Manager of the Tampa Bay Rays since 2005 and known as “one of baseball’s more purely intelligent men in uniform,” Joe Maddon ’76 led the Rays to their first season with a winning record in 2008, when they took their first division title and proceeded to win the pennant. That phenomenal year completed a full-circle turnaround for the Rays, who had the worst record in Major League Baseball in 2007.
Maddon, who was inducted into the Maroon Club Hall of Fame last November, will return to the College Sept. 2 to receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters. After giving an address to the College community at 4 p.m. in Colton Chapel, he will receive the degree in a private ceremony at 6 p.m.
A native of Hazleton, Pa., Maddon majored in economics at Lafayette where he played baseball and football and attended until 1976. He signed as a free agent catcher with the Anaheim Angels in 1975. He played for Class-A affiliates in Quad Cities (1976), Salinas (1977-78), and Santa Clara before switching his career to scouting and managing. He batted .267 with five home runs in his minor league career.
Maddon received the American League Manager of the Year Award in 2008 and was honored by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives May 12, 2009, with a unanimous vote in favor of H.R. 303 highlighting his accomplishments on the baseball diamond and his continued ties to his hometown. His mother, Albina (Beanie) is still a waitress at the Third Base Dugout Restaurant there. Maddon grew up in an apartment above C. Maddon & Sons Plumbing, started by his Italian immigrant grandfather.
A man who never travels without a book, Maddon wrote the foreword to former Angel Tim Salmon’s recently released biography, Always an Angel: Playing the Game with Fire and Faith. He is also an avid cyclist, pedaling from 60 to 100 miles per week.
Before the Rays, Maddon was interim manager of the Anaheim Angels in both 1996 and 1999, and was a long-time bench coach for them.
Maddon organizes an annual “Thanks-mas” in November in the Tampa, Fla. area, teaming with volunteers to prepare a holiday meal at four Salvation Army shelters.
He is also involved in fund-raising for the John Challis Courage for Life Foundation, named for a young man from Beaver County, Pa., who died from cancer three months after Maddon met him at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park prior to a Rays-Pirates game.