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Maxine Simmons

Maxine Simmons

Maxine Simmons

Maxine Simmons

Maxine Simmons

Profile Information

  • Maiden Name: (Drinkwater)
  • Nickname: "Max"
  • Hometown: Searsmont, ME (US)
  • Throwing Hand: Right
  • Batting Hand: Right
  • Born: May 19, 1936
  • Died: February 11, 2024

Maxine SimmonsHistory

Team Position Uniform #
1954 South Bend Blue Sox First Base & Second Base 9

Simmons, Maxine Drinkwater
By Jeneane Lesko
     Maxine remembers playing hard ball with her three brothers while growing up in Camden, Maine. As a sophomore in high school in 1951 Maxine read about an exhibition game featuring professional women baseball players from the AAGPBL. Maxine said, "I didn't get to see the game but I did write the league. Ni the spring of 1954 she received an invitation to tryouts in Indiana. She chose to miss her senior class trip and traveled to Indiana with her mother to tryout. "I had never traveled before," said Maxine, "I didn't like it then and I still don't like it. But my mother had a great time and she traveled back to Maine alone! I was asked to join the league on my 18th birthday. I guess that was my birthday present! I was allowed to go home for graduation but then had to come right back."

    As a rookie Maxine expected little playing time but she showed her versatility as a utility player at second and first base. As a rookie she felt mostly ignored by the manager and older players except for the team's shortstop, Gertie Dunn. Maxine fondly remembered Gertie, "Gertie took me under her wing and helped me out a lot. She saw I had talent and wanted me to play second base. Rookies were lucky to play at all. I played a lot! She got to know Helen "Nordie" Nordquist and was good friends with Gertie, but Maxine was quiet and soon became homesick and quickly admits, "I wouldn't have lasted if it wasn't for Gertie's friendship. I am so grateful to Gertie. She took care of me and I was on my best behavior. I loved to play. I had the team's best fielding average but it still was very difficult because rookies were not accepted. I feel very fortunate to have played as much as I did."

     After the league Mary returned to Maine. She worked for Sylvania in Walderboro and Tibett's Hearing Aid Company in Camden. Later in life Maxine earned a license as a certified Nursing Assistant. Maxine continued to play softball and was a player-coach for awhile. But Maxine said "I really loved to play, not coach although I did coach boys and girls Little League for many years." 

     Today, Maxine lives with and cares for her Mother who will be 93 in January. Maxine swims and lifts weights in the winter and plays golf in the summer. She was excited about her golf game this past summer. "I usually golf alone" said Maxine "but this day I teed off on the ninth hole and the groundskeeper was watching. I hit the ball to the right of the green and it started rolling toward the pin and disappeared. The groundskeeper and I both walked up to the hole and looked in. There it was my hole in one!" Congratulations Maxine!

Author: Jeneane Lesko

Contributed By: Shelley McCann

Copyright: 2011

CAMDEN, ME — Maxine Edna (Drinkwater) Simmons, 87, of Camden, died on Sunday, February 11, 2024 at Breakwater Commons in Rockland. Born in Searsmont on May 19, 1936, she was the daughter of Robie J. and Bertha (Butler) Drinkwater and was a member of the Class of 1954 at Camden High School where she played basketball and baseball. She married Charles Simmons and they lived in Rockport for many years, later moving to Newport.  Her many jobs included Tibbetts Industries, GTE Sylvania, and working as a CNA. 

During her high school senior year, she finished her studies early skipping her class trip to Washington D.C., in order to fly with her mother to Michigan to try out for the the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She was the first pick of the South Bend Blue Sox. Rookies saw very little playing time, however Max appeared in 45 games for the Blue Sox as a first and second basewoman and was a defensive stalwart with a .947 fielding percentage. By many baseball minds, she was considered one of the top defensive players in the AAGPBL. Maxine helped the Blue Sox make a run for the league championship, however the league disbanded prior to the end of the season.   

The AAGPBL was made famous in A League of their Own, a 1992 movie starting Tom Hanks and Geena Davis.  

She returned to Camden and coached basketball at Camden High School. Maxine coached many Little League teams and played for local softball teams. She was one of the more talented older players in the Rockland softball summer league playing second base, or any open position. Max also enjoyed playing golf with her niece, Julie Landwehr. 

Her athletic talent did not go unnoticed, as she became a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and in 2005, was inducted in to the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, the first and only woman to gain such an honor. 

In 2017, Maxine was selected to throw the first pitch at a Portland Sea Dogs 25th Anniversary game when they were celebrating the 26th anniversary of the film A League of Their Own. The ushers at this game wore uniforms similar to the Blue Sox commemorating the team.  

The door of her Camden apartment held a sign reading: “Red Sox Fans Welcome; Others Not Allowed.” She was a faithful Red Sox fan and Ted Williams was her all-time hero. 

Maxine was literally in a league of her own, taking her passion for baseball to the professional level. She shared her talent with many in the Camden-Rockport-Rockland area and will be remembered by all who knew her. 

Special thanks is extended to the wonderful care of Maxine during her stay at Breakwater Commons, especially Vickey and Emilee. 

In addition to her parents, Maxine was predeceased by her husband, Charles Simmons in 1989, and her special niece, Julie Landwehr. 

Author: Unknown

Contributed By: Carol Sheldon

Copyright: Penobscot Bay Pilot, Camden, ME 2/23/2024

LeagueBatting Record

1954 45 95 8 14 0 0 0 4 1 12 22 .147

Maxine SimmonsPhoto & Video Album

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