Thursday, September 26, 2013

Maris Ties Ruth

On Sept. 26, 1961 New York Yankees great Roger Maris hits home run 60 of the season off Jack Fisher, tying Babe Ruth's record for most home runs hit in a single season.

Maris would go on to break Ruth’s record later that season, finishing the season with a total of 61 home runs. The record Maris totaled would stand until 1998 when Chicago Cubs Sammy Sosa and St. Louis Cardinals Mark McGwire broke the record hitting 66 and 70 home runs respectively.

Over the course of his 12-year career, Maris played for four teams including the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals and Yankees.

Maris had an impressive career that saw him play in 1,463 games with 5,101 at-bats, where he put up a career batting average of .260. Maris totaled 1,325 hits, with 195 doubles, 42 triples and 275 home runs. He would also accumulate 850 RBIs and 826 runs scored with 652 walks and 21 stolen bases while striking out 733 times.

Maris led the league in RBIs twice, in 1960 and 1961, his first two years with the Yankees. His highest single season total of RBIs came in 1961, the year he broke Ruth’s home run record. Maris also led the league in runs scored and home runs in 1961 with 132 and 61 respectively, both of which were single season career highs for Maris.

Maris would rack up quite a few awards during his career including seven All-Star appearances, including two in each of the 1960, 1961 and 1962 seasons when MLB featured two All-Star Games during the season. He would win two American League MVP Awards in 1960 and 1961. He would also win two AL RBI Champion Awards in 1960 and 1961. In 1960 he won a Gold Glove and in 1961 he won the Home Run Champion award.

Maris would appear in seven World Series with the Yankees and Cardinals, and was on the winning end three times in 1960 and 1961 with the Yankees and in 1967 with the Cardinals.

The New York Yankees retired Maris’ No. 9 jersey on July 21, 1984, which was Old-Timers’ Day.

A new Roger Maris plaque was also dedicated in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. The plaque calls Maris, "A great player and author of one of the most remarkable chapters in the history of major league baseball." Maris participated in the ceremony wearing a Yankee number 9 uniform.

The United States Postal Service issued a "Roger Maris, 61 in 61" commemorative stamp on September 17, 1999. On September 22, 2011, the Yankees celebrated the 50-year anniversary of Roger Maris' single-season home run record at Yankee Stadium.

Although not elected to Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame, Maris is eligible to be identified as a Golden Era candidate in 2014: The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) appointed-Historical Overview Committee (10-12 representatives; BBWAA members) who will identify 10 Golden Era candidates from the 1947 to 1972 era, for possible election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2015.

Election of any of the 10 Golden Era ballot candidates in 2014 requires getting 75 percent of the 16-member Golden Era Committee vote during its winter meeting in December 2014.