Paul Maholm was the eighth player taken in the 2003 first-round draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, he never pitched like it over his Bucco career. When an organization takes a player with the eighth overall pick, obviously great things are expected.
Looking at Maholm’s time in Pittsburgh, there is nothing that was great on the field.
Maholm will be remembered for his strong pitching during the 2011 Pirates unlikely first place run. His first 70+ innings in 2011 were, well, straight nasty.
But how it ended in Pittsburgh will be what we remember.
Especially when one considers that in his last seven starts, Maholm allowed eight hits, seven hits, ten hits, six hits, nine hits, ten hits, and nine hits.
The Pirates lost all seven of those games. Maholm pitched just 42.2 innings, and allowed 59 hits and 26 earned runs.
During repeatedly horrid years of Pirates baseball Maholm could be described as average at best, a back-of-the-rotation innings eater who showed flashes of brilliance, but could never break through.
At spring training 2011, it was readily apparent that new pitching coach Ray Searage knew exactly how to fix Maholm. Watch and listen closely for the words, ‘that’s when you get in trouble,’ from Searage.
The hell-bent mission Searage was on – and perhaps some Maholm scouting reports that Clint Hurdle brought over from the Rangers – helped Maholm improve. At least for a while in 2011 it all clicked, but Maholm fell apart when his team needed strong pitching the most.
Off the field, Maholm is a gem. He is a devout Christian. The work he and his wife did with local charity will be missed, as will the time he spent on area golf courses.
The one facet that stands out for us about Maholm was this. He seemed to be a great teammate. It was evident during the Pedro Alvarez weight gain saga last season. During an interview at Piratefest–on the day when the bogus report first hit the press, this was the reaction we received from Maholm when we asked him to express his thoughts on Pedro’s reported weight gain.
It hits about the 1:09 mark to listen to Maholm’s reaction on Alvarez. The immediate reaction by Maholm after we asked the question is our favorite part:
Maholm was never able to be on a winning team in Pittsburgh. He repeatedly said that was his desire, you might have heard it in the video above.
We aren’t sure how much winning will happen in Chicago this year either, but we certainly wish Maholm the best. On paper, the Cubs have an improved defense which should help the ground ball heavy left hander. Let’s just trust he doesn’t pitch inside against the Bucs, because that would be truly frustrating to watch.
Be sure to check out Pirates secondbaseman Neil Walker on our latest podcast by clicking the story below: