Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Sunday Baseball: I Remember Charlie Maxwell

Charlie Maxwell played for Detroit in the 50’s. He was from Paw Paw, Michigan and he could hit homers for the Tigers.

He hit most of his homers on Sunday. He is the most famous Sunday hitter in major league history. I used to listen to his games on the radio when he played against the White Sox on Sunday.

See, I only got Sox games on the radio, when I lived in Miami in the late 50’s. Charlie was a legend with his Sunday power. I think that’s where I got hooked on the magic of Sunday baseball.

Today it’s Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Greg Maddux, Javier Vasquez, Barry Zito, Mike Mussina, Eric Milton, and Kevin Appier to name a few, the list is impressive.

They all pitch in key games for their teams this Sunday.

Why does it seem that more rides on Sunday games than any other games during the week.

Baseball fans exhale on Sunday, sit back, and can’t wait to figure out what the day’s results mean to their favorite team.

Sunday was Charlie Maxwell’s day. I’ll never forget him.

All of New Engalnd is glued to the Red Sox-Yankee series. Mike Mussina is due to throw another near perfect game. He always seems to do it, when the chips are on the line.

Maybe the biggest plus for New York is the return to form of Ramiro Mendoza, a forgotten man in a pennant winning bull pen. Mendoza is Joe Torre’s ace in the hole. If one of Torre’s aging starting pitchers has an off day, Mendoza can once again bail out the team until the manager can turn the ball over to the late inning guys in the pen.

Mendoza has been hurt for the better part of two seasons, now it appears he is healthy. Mendoza saved the Yankees’ bacon Saturday with 3.3 no hit innings in relief.

Everyone can relate to Darren Oliver. We all have one thing we do well in life. Some have more than one. Oliver’s one claim to fame is, he can beat the Yankees. No matter if he is pitching in Texas or Boston, when he steps between the lines, the Yankees quiver in their spikes.

Oliver’s problem is, he rarely duplicates these efforts against any other teams. The Red Sox place their faith in the lefty today at the Fens, in the conclusion of a riveting four game series currently led 2-1 by the Beantowners.

If Oliver fails, the call will go out for Colorado’s Mike Hampton all over the Northeast, notwithstanding the fact that Hampton is having an awful season in the National league.

Barry Zito tries to extend the A’s winning streak to three games against one of the hottest pitchers in the league, Joe Kennedy of Tampa Bay. Yes, that Tampa Bay, last in the league in hitting, on base %, and recognizable names.

Both Kennedy and Zito have pitched well against each others teams in the past. The A’s are hitting once again and moving with some confidence on the field.

If Cory Lidle struggles at all in his rehab start today in Oklahoma, yesterday’s star standin pitcher, Aaron Harang, may get another start next weekend against these same Devil Rays.

A’s management is big on sending messages to the rest of this struggling team, so maybe Erik Hiljus, Mark Mulder, and Lidle better beware of the 6’7″ righty who struck out 10 in his major league debut.

Harang deserves another start before returning to the minors.

The Angels face one of their all time nemesis in Twins lefty Eric Milton in Anaheim. The Halos are playing inspired baseball right now. The Twins blew last night’s game, closer Eddie Guardado couldn’t break 90 MPH on the radar gun. Bengie Molina doubled in the tying run in the ninth, then Tim Salmon won it with a homer in the 13th.

Appier is on a roll. In his last 26.3 innings pitched, the herky jerky righty has only surrenderd 7 earned runs.

Seattle is singing the blues about their offense these days. Chris Snelling, a 20 year old lefthanded hitting rookie from Australia, is now getting a shot in left field. I saw Snelling in spring training. I thought his bat speed was awesome.

Jeff Cirillo, Bret Boone, and Mike Cameron are all having slow starts at the dish. Cameron is really struggling even considering his four homer game earlier against the White Sox.

Rodrigo Lopez starts for the Orioles today against the Mariners. He’ll be opposed by Jamie Moyer. Lopez throws every pitch all out reaching 94 MPH quite ofetn. Moyer throws in the 70 MPH range. A classic pitchers battle today in Seattle.

The Orioles have won five straight games started by lefthanders including beating Mulder and Zito this week in Oakland. The Orioles won for the first time ever in Safeco Field last night. Can they do it again?

Cincy’s Chris Reitsma, the best kept secret in the NL, pitches against the old master, Greg Maddux in Atlanta.

Reitsma has a terrific change up. Maddux’ change up will take him to Cooperstown. They should shut off the radar gun today, they won’t need it.

Two of my favorite young hurlers match up in Montreal. Vincente Padilla throws for the Phillies and Javier Vasquez for the Expos. This should be a low scoring NL game even thouigh the Expos put 13 on the board last night against the Phillies 9 runs.

How do you think Jeremy Giambi liked his first night in a Phillies uniform. He hits homers in his first two NL at bats, then sees his team blow two late inning leads, and lose the game in the 10th, on a walk off grand slam by Jose Vidro.

Do you think Larry Bowa was calm after that game?

I said it before and I’ll say it again, Jeremy Giambi can hit. Larry Bowa is dreaming if he keeps putting Giambi at first base. Jeremy makes Dick Stuart, Dr. Strangeglove, the immortal Pirate first sacker from the 60’s, look like Keith Hernandez in the field.

Finally, Kevin Brown against the Big Unit Randy Johnson.

Other than the fact these are two of the best pitchers in the league, LA’s Shawn Green needs one more homer to tie Frank Howard’s record of ten homers in a calendar week.

Johnson can go ahead of the Big Train, Walter Johnson on the all time strike out list, with three more punch outs. I’ll bet you he gets Green in the first inning for the K, to go ahead of Johnson.

The Giants will be glad to get off the road where they are just another team. Colorado is winning at home again, just like old times on Blake Street.

Hey, all you naysayers, the Cubbies are rolling. If Jason Bere can get the job done today against Carlos Hernandez and the Astros, watch out because the Cub rotation flips over, and I see a long winning streak ahead for the Bruins.

Sunday is a family day, a day of reflection, even in baseball.

I like Charlie Maxwell.

I like Sunday baseball.


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