|Justin Maxwell scores during 4th inning action in last night's 6-2 Giant win at AT&T Park. (photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)|
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The Newest Name in Dodger/Giant Lore
In one night, Justin Maxwell, San Francisco's newest right fielder, has become one of those Giant players that have came out of no-where to kill the Dodgers.
Obviously I could name such players as Mays, McCovey, and Barry Bonds as perennial Dodger killers, but those names are too obvious. They were superstars and hall of fame caliber, (no matter how much you argue against Bonds, his talent was hall of fame caliber). But those aren't the guys I'm thinking about when Justin Maxwell's performance is mentioned.
I think of a young Bobby Bonds who hit a grand slam as a rookie to destroy the Dodgers in 1968. Or Brian Johnson, who homered in '97 in a late September series that tied the Giants in the division race with the Dodgers, one ultimately won by San Francisco. Maxwell is a nobody. A wandering baseball nomad who changes uniforms each year in search of employment.
Add his name to the list that includes such players as the aformentioned Johnson, and Bonds the first. Then there are others such as Jimmy Ray Hart, Larry Herndon, Randy Winn, Rich Aurelia, and Will Clark. Some killed them in clutch moments. Others did it all the time and had respectable careers to boot. They were Dodger killers over time, (e.g. Will Clark, Hart, Jack Clark).
Now there's Justin Maxwell. I had no idea who this guy was, and maybe I should have, because he has toiled in the majors off and on since 2007. A former top prospect in the Nationals organization, Maxwell has had an injury ridden career that kept him from achieving the lofty status so many predicted of him after his 4th round selection by the Nats in 2005.
Tommy John surgery, hip surgery, and a series of concussions have sidelined Maxwell over the years. He showed signs of potential, (18 homers in Houston in 2012), but he has never reached that pinnacle that many expected of him. Ironically, it is an injury to Hunter Pence that may finally give him his chance.
Maxwell's amazing catch, rally starting triple and late inning clutch homer caught our attention last might. Was it a fluke? Yeah, probably, but for some reason I'm thinking that Giant fans will revere the guy for a long time. He did, after all, crush the Dodgers.
Long live he rivalry.