Double X

October 25, 1997

JIMMIE FOXX may be a legend to baseball historians, but modern-day players and fans barely know of him. Even in his home town of Sudlersville on the Eastern Shore (Queen Anne's County, six miles from the Delaware line), the memory of Double X, as he was known, was faint -- until recently.

A Jimmie Foxx revival, of sorts, is under way. Today, in a memorial park named for him in Sudlersville, his new-found admirers will unveil a bronze statue of the greatest right-handed power-hitter in baseball history.

Had it not been for a fellow named Ruth from Baltimore, Jimmie Foxx may have been the one dubbed Sultan of Swat: Twenty years in the majors, .325 career average, 534 homers, thrice most valuable player, a triple-crown winner and member of the Hall of Fame.

Not bad for a muscular farm boy who made it to the majors at 18 after being signed to a contract by another Maryland Hall of Famer, Frank "Home Run" Baker.

Even today, his exploits are staggering. In 1932, he batted a mere .364, with 58 home runs and 169 runs batted in. The next year, he hit .364, with 48 round-trippers and 163 RBIs. Rafael Palmiero eat your heart out.

Only Babe Ruth and Roger Maris ever hit more homers in a season. In later years, he battled inner demons and lost his luster. But some fans still remember, and recognize Foxx for what he was in his prime. It is fitting that his home town honors him today. Perhaps a similar statue near Oriole Park is in order, too.

Pub Date: 10/25/97

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