Former Baseball Player Charlie Maxwell Honored in Paw Paw, Michigan on Monument and Ball Diamond
Paw Paw, Michigan celebrated Charlie Maxwell Days on August 7- 8, 2010. The two day event started Saturday in downtown Paw Paw at the Carnegie Center. From 10:00 to 3:00, family, friends and fans were able to attend the open house and view a slide show and memorabilia. Following this event there was an open reception at the La Cantina Restorante, several hundred had the chance to meet Charlie and get autographs. Charlie was equally as pleasant with those in front of the long line as he was with the autograph seekers at the end.
During the 1958 baseball season, Tigers outfielder Charlie Maxwell tied a major league record with four consecutive home runs in a Sunday doubleheader against the New York Yankees. More than a quarter of his career home runs, 40 out of 148, came on Sundays. He inherited the nickname “Sunday Charlie” along with “Ol’ Paw Paw.â€
On Sunday August 8th, 2010 Charlie once again was the star of a doubleheader. First a beautiful two-sided monument was unveiled in his honor, followed by the naming of the ball diamond, “Charlie Maxwell Ball Diamond.”
I was very honored and excited when the Village of Paw Paw asked for my help in preparing a monument for Mr. Maxwell, after putting one up for the Killefer Brothers in 2009. I decided to design something similar to the Deadball Era monument series, but made some alterations to keep them separate. With so many career achievements made by Charlie to record, it became very apparent to utilize both sides of the stone. One side was a portrait and bio, the other side a full body etching with career highlights and stats.
During his major league career Charlie played for the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox. His best years were with the Detroit Tigers of his home state, where he was a fan favorite. It was a very easy decision for Charlie to be wearing his Tiger emblem on the stone.
The monument informs its reader about Charlie’s great career, but it also becomes very personalized learning about his family. On the stone we learn his parents names, know that he was one of four children, where he met his wife, and the names of each of his children.
Here’s what it says:
Dedicated in honor
to the life of
Charles R. Maxwell
Born in Lawton, MI
April 8, 1927.Â Charlie was the youngest of four children of Tom and Isa Maxwell.Â He graduated from Lawton High School and received a baseball scholarship from Western Michigan University.Â After serving in the U.S. Army, he played in the minor leagues in Wellsville, NY, Birmingham, AL, Louisville, KY, and Roanoke, VA where he met his wife Ann.Â They moved to Paw Paw to raise their children, Richard, Jeffrey, Cindy and Kelle.Â As an outfielder Charlie made his major league debut on September 20, 1950 with the Boston Red Sox.Â He remained in the AL later playing with Baltimore, Detroit and Chicago.Â As a fan favorite, while with the Tigers he became known as “Ol’ Paw Paw.”Â Inducted into the state of Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
The monument was unveiled in front nearly 200 people at the Maple Lake Amphitheatre. Charlie said,”He has had several honors which include two State Hall of Fame inductions, but it meant most to him and his family, being honored from the people of his hometown.” It was very special, and much appreciated by him. His wife, four children,12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild attended the ceremony.
The Village President, Roman Plaszczak, spoke and stated that Charlie is an outstanding gentleman, and a great citizen of Paw Paw.
I wrote for the dedication speech and program, “Mr. Maxwell has set an outstanding set of footprints to follow in, he has been an all star on the field and off.”
From Maple Lake Amphitheatre, a motorcade went to Tyler Field. At 5:00pm a ceremony was held naming it Charlie Maxwell Ball Diamond. The first game played under the new name was an 1860′s game between the House of David Echoes and the Paw Paw Corkers.
It has been a pleasure working with, Larry Nielsen, Robert (Butch) Hindenach and Roman Plaszczak from Paw Paw. I appreciate their efforts and dedication to see that Charlie Maxwell, who is a special person and ballplayer, has been honored and will be remembered forever. Seeing Mr. Maxwell, his family, friends and residents of Paw Paw pleased with the monument, certainly makes me happier than words can describe.