MAX NEAL

Baseball

Class of 2008

MAX NEAL An astonishing Earned Run Average of less than one run per game in 1954 and 1955 put Max in the record books as a top pitcher, one of six selected in 2000 to the DVC All Half-Century Baseball Team. In 1950, the three-sport athlete entered AHS as a sophomore. The native Arkansan’s 6’1” slim build earned the nickname “Slatts.” For the next three years under Coach “Babe” Atkinson, Max evolved into a phenomenal baseball pitcher – leading the Panthers to league championships in both 1952 and 1953. His three-year record was 21 wins, 7 losses. When not pitching, Max played first base and led the team in hitting with a .400 average, making All-Contra Costa County. Following high school, Max went to East Contra Costa Junior College (later renamed Diablo Valley College). Under Coach Hugh Boschetti, Max won five games, including a 3-1 league record with a .89 ERA as a freshman in 1954. His sophomore year, the “curve-balling control artist” had nine victories, including a 5-0 league record, and allowed only five league earned runs for the year with a documented .92 ERA which still stands today. This cemented his name in the DVC record books as being one of the top pitchers in Viking history. That 8-l-l season in 1955 earned a league championship for his team and led to his selection as a pitcher for the All-Coast Conference team. His two-year Viking total of 14 victories includes eight league wins. Following junior college, Max played semi-pro baseball in Pittsburg as pitcher for two years and one year in 1957 for Healdsburg. Max shared his baseball knowledge with a new generation of players when he coached both Little League and Babe Ruth teams in Antioch in the 1960s and ‘70s.