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Aug 16, 2019

Max Schumacher(August 10, 2019) Has there been an ardent Indianapolis Indians fan since the 1950s who has not known the name Max Schumacher? Often called "Mr. Indianapolis Baseball," Max worked for the minor-league baseball franchise for more than 60 years, in positions ranging from ticket manager all the way up to president.

Not only did he spearhead the effort to build Victory Field in downtown Indy in the mid '90s, he actually began his career by working for Owen Bush, the namesake of historic Bush Stadium, which had been the Indians' home field since 1931.  

Now chairman emeritus of the Indians (the franchise is managed by two of his sons), Max has written a book to convey some of the highlights of his long career. In Extra Innings: My Life in Baseball (Blue River Press), Max shares insights about wild promotions, players who passed through the Indians before achieving stardom in the major leagues, and periodic drama in the team's front office.

To explore the mounds of history associated with the Indians - who are currently the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, following years of affiliation with a range of major league teams, including the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds - Max joins Nelson as his studio guest. So does his Extra Innings co-author, Mark Montieth, the award-winning Indianapolis-based sportswriter

Mark-MontiethAs a student at Shortridge High School, Max attended Indians games with his lifelong friend Richard Lugar (both were members of the class of '50), who wrote the foreword to Extra Inningsbefore he died in April. After Shortridge, Max played baseball at Butler University for another legendary figure: Tony Hinkle, the three-sport coach who became the namesake of Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Future Hall of Famers who played for the Indians early in their careers included Harmon Killebrew, who was 24 years old in 1958 when, as Max notes in Extra Innings, he had a dismal season in Indy. 

If some fans are not aware that Killebrew (who hit more than 570 home runs for the Washington Senators after leaving Indianapolis) ever came up to bat at Bush Stadium, few have forgotten the most popular player in Indians history: charismatic Razor Shines, who spent most of nine seasons with the team during the 1980s and '90s. Invariably introduced over the public address system as "R-r-r-r-r-r-azor Shines," he will be among the notables that Max and Mark will discuss during our show.

Vintage postcard shows Bush Stadium in the 1930s, when it was called Perry Stadium.Some Indians history facts:

  • In 1955, the Indians came close to leaving Indianapolis. The team, which was losing money, was affiliated with the Cleveland Indians then. Max and Mark will explain how the team managed to remain in Indy.
  • Bush Stadium was nearly slated for demolition after the Indians moved to the newly opened Victory Field at White River State Park in 1996, but then made history by becoming the first former baseball stadium in the country to be converted into residential housing. Historic preservationist John Watson of Core Redevelopmentdiscussed the conversion during a Hoosier History Live show in 2013Stadium Lofts apartments opened later that year.
  • Max Schumacher was named a Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society in 2012.