The direct position-selective C–4 alkylation of pyridines has been a longstanding challenge in heterocyclic chemistry, particularly from pyridine itself. Historically this has been addressed using pre-functionalized materials to avoid overalkylation and mixtures of regioisomers. This study reports the invention of a simple maleate-derived blocking group for pyridines that enables exquisite control for Minisci-type decarboxylative alkylation at C–4 that allows for inexpensive access to these valuable building blocks. The method is employed on a variety of different pyridines and carboxylic acid alkyl donors, is operationally simple, scalable, and is applied to access known structures in a rapid and inexpensive fashion. Finally, this work points to an interesting strategic departure for the use of Minisci chemistry at the earliest possible stage (native pyridine) rather than current dogma that almost exclusively employs Minisci as a late-stage functionalization technique.