Maxine and Me

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…related to Baseball Dynasties, but not included in the actual book.

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Maxine & Me

by Eddie Epstein

Max Bishop was Philadelphia’s second baseman and leadoff man throughout the glory years. He also became, in 1930, the only everyday player in major league history to finish a season with more runs scored (117) than hits (111). Bishop was able to do this because (1) he drew a ton of walks, nearly one per game in 1930, and (2) he had guys like Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons and Mickey Cochrane batting behind him.

Max Bishop also fathered my high-school biology teacher, Maxine Schwarz.

I went to high school at Baltimore Polytechnical Institute (known in those parts simply as “Poly”), and of course Max Bishop had a Baltimore connection as the second baseman on the first five of the “Endless Chain Champs” (that was the Orioles team that won seven straight International League pennants from 1919 through 1925). In all honesty, I can’t say Maxine was an outstanding teacher, but she really did care about her students. Not long after my junior year she became a counselor, probably a better role for her.

Anyway, in December, on the last day of classes before exam week, Maxine let us do whatever we wanted in her class. My passions then were about the same as now, so I brought in my APBA baseball game (I didn’t completely switch to Strat-O-Matic until college). Included in the game were cards for some of the all-time greatest teams, among them the 1931 Philadelphia Athletics. Their second baseman was, like I said, Max Bishop.

Maxine walked over to my desk, so I whipped out her father’s card. APBA cards contain a fair amount of biographical information, including nicknames. Bishop’s card actually listed two nicknames: “Camera Eye” and “Tilly.”

Maxine, impressed that the game makers knew about the Tilly nickname, began to reminisce.

Lost in her musings, she picked up the envelope containing Max’s teammates, and began to fold the envelope. Quite sharply. I didn’t know what to say. After all, she was my teacher. In those days you didn’t tell your teacher what to do. Or in this case, what not to do. On the other hand, split-second visions of having to re-order the ’31 A’s, all because of Max Bishop’s daughter (oh, the irony), were dancing through my head.

The cards, hardy sort that they were, survived Maxine’s manipulations, and she said she thought her father would have enjoyed APBA, though I suspect she didn’t really understand the game.

Maxine, if you’re reading this, I hope you’re doing all right. And if you remember me, rest assured that I’m doing well. You should also know that if I were a general manager, I would love to have a player like your father on my team.

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