Small Paw Paw museum to open with baseball exhibit

1905 Paw Paw High School Baseball TeamBill Killifer

    Paw Paw - Famously known as the National Pastime, baseball’s history mirrors the history of our emerging national character.  Baseball first came to Paw Paw in 1866, and from that time to the present, 11 men from Paw Paw have played in the major or minor professional baseball leagues.  
    “Past Times in Paw Paw: a History of Baseball in Our Hometown” will be on display at the Carnegie Community Center, 129 S. Kalamazoo Street, in Paw Paw from June until September.  
    “The exhibit is being de-signed to tell how and why baseball became known as the National Pastime through the stories of our hometown heroes,” said Martha Deming Maytnier, History Room Librarian at the Paw Paw District Li-brary.  
    The Killifer brothers, Wade and Bill, began playing baseball in the 1900s during the early days of professional baseball. Together, the brothers had a combined career in baseball of 84 years; from player to coach to manager to scout.
    Wade Killifer was elected to the Pacific League Hall of Fame after 21 years as a player, coach and manager.  Bill Killifer, is considered to be one of the best defensive catchers to have ever played the game. He caught for Hall of Fame pitcher, Grover Cleveland Alexander, and went with Alexander from the Phillies to the Cubs in 1917.  The team of Killifer and Alexander won two hundred and fifty games in the major leagues.
    Charlie Maxwell played seven seasons with the Detroit Tigers during the ‘50s and ‘60s.  Called “Ol’ Paw Paw”, Charlie was one of the Tigers’ best power hitters. He also became known as the “Sunday Punch” because he often hit home runs on Sundays.  
    On May 3, 1959, Maxwell hit four consecutive home runs in four at-bats during a Sunday doubleheader against the New York Yankees. Charlie was named to the American League All-Star team twice during his years with the Tigers, and is in the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.
    In 2005, Derek Mitchell, a three sport high school standout for Paw Paw, signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.  His coach for his last season with the Phillies was Ryne Sandberg, a Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame second baseman. He has been quoted as saying, “He (Derek) is a very classy guy, a very good teammate…and just being around him is a positive, positive influence.”  
    “Past Times in Paw Paw” is being presented by the Paw Paw Historical Commission and Paw Paw District Library.  The Grand Opening Ceremony for the exhibit is being held at the Carnegie Community Center on Sunday, June 9 from 1 to 4 p.m.  The exhibit is free and open to the public.  From June 9 to September 8, the exhibit will be on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, at the Carnegie Center,  (269) 657-5674.

The Paw Paw Historical Commission and the Paw Paw District Library will present the exhibit, “Past Times in Paw Paw: a History of Baseball on our Hometown,” beginning June 9 in the lower level of the Carnegie Community Center, featuring local memorabilia and stories.

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-5080

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