He probably won’t start singing and dancing in the outfield, but Robert Maddox III uses music in almost every aspect of his life.
The Ohio left fielder’s numbers this season speak volumes. His .377 batting average and 78 RBIs both ranked in the top 10 of the Mid-American Conference, and his 21 home runs led the conference.
The 21-year-old junior is no stranger to the MLB Draft either, as he was drafted out of high school in the 34th round in 2007. But he decided to play in Athens and not sign a contract.
“I didn’t get a signing bonus offer by the deadline,” Maddox said. “So I was kind of forced to go to school or do something else instead of play pro ball.”
Despite all the accolades he receives on the baseball field, Maddox’s off-field life is highlighted by an unusual hobby: theater.
Growing up in Euclid, a nearby suburb of Cleveland, Maddox’s mother Sonya worked at downtown’s famous Playhouse Square. As she frequently acquired tickets to shows, Maddox began to attended performances beginning at a young age all the way through high school.
“Back home, I wouldn’t go out and do things typical high school kids did,” Maddox said. “Friday night you’d probably see me downtown at Playhouse Square seeing a performance.
“I’ll take my niece to the theater and we’ll go see Lion King. I’ll go see anything.”
Maddox credited his mother for inspiring his interest in theater and taking him to Playhouse Square so many times.
“If she wasn’t there I would have seen half the shows I’ve seen and I wouldn’t like it as much,” Maddox said. “I have a fine appreciation for people that do that. People make fun of people who do arts, but when people ask you to go do it, you might tense up and think it’s scary.”
After he started his college career in Athens, Maddox’s passion for theater continued. Despite constant traveling with the baseball team, Maddox has watched plays put on by his fellow students on campus.
“The fine arts is not well known, but I have a great appreciation for what they do and the time they put in,” Maddox said. “They put in just as much time as any athlete.”
Maddox mentioned The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, and Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat as his favorite musicals.
Doing something different is not new to Maddox. He was one of only a few African Americans playing high school baseball in the Cleveland area.
People often made fun of him and questioned why he was playing baseball. But, Maddox said he never let outside opinions affect him.
“You can’t let that stop you from doing what helps you out,” Maddox said. “I don’t mind people knowing I like theater.”
Maddox’s love for music expands further than theater. He said he enjoys all types of music, and makes playlists on his iPod for many occasions.
“I have a pregame playlist that hasn’t changed all year,” Maddox said. “Whether I have a good game or bad game I listen to the same songs.
He listens to anything from R&B to hip-hop to country to classical music. He said he uses it to clear his mind and get away from baseball.
Maddox said he isn’t nervous about the draft, and that his enjoyment of theater will follow him wherever he ends up.
“I’ve had a great time here and I can’t wait to see what the future holds,” Maddox said. “I’ve done what I can and I think I’ve left it all out on the field, so I’m just going to have to wait and see what happens.”