Greg Maddux knows a little bit about being a part of one of the best rotations of all time, and he likes what he sees from the Phillies' star-studded rotation.

"Obviously, on paper they're as good as we were, maybe better,'' Maddux told the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago. "I think you have to let them pitch together for two or three years and see what happens.

"They have a chance to be one of the best of all time, absolutely. You start matching guys up, (shoot) they're all in their prime. They could be something very special.

"Hopefully, they keep them together and they stay healthy.''

Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine were the Big Three in the mid-90s, collecting wins and Cy Young awards. They were joined at various points by Steve Avery, Kevin Millwood and Denny Neagle.

The average age of that group was 26. The average age among the Phillies' Fab Four is 31.

"That's probably not that big a deal, not as much as it sounds,'' Maddux said. "So many guys pitch until they're 40 now, and once you get to 32 or 33, you have a pretty good idea of how to take care of yourself and stay away from injury.''

Maddux said he thinks being around each other will make each pitcher better.

"As a fan of pitching and guys who really know how to pitch, I think it's going to be really fun to watch the Phillies next season,'' Maddux said. "I'm looking forward to seeing how they do because it could be one of those very special baseball things that comes around only once in awhile.''