Thursday, September 10, 2009


Today's hero is the free swinging fellow above one, Roger Maris (who wore the number (9) born this day, 1934, in Hibbing, Minnesota. His major claim to fame is, of course the breaking of Babe Ruth's single season home run record in 1961. That season saw him, and teammate Mickey Mantle both make solid pushes to break the Bambino's record. The American League had expanded from 8 to 10 teams the year before, and there were probably some pitchers in the big leagues that should have been in Triple A ball instead, but that should not detract from Maris' record. The asterisk was called for by some baseball "purists" claiming that since Maris played in a 162 game season (as compared to Ruth's 154 game season) that if he did break the record an asterisk should be placed by the record. The commissioner of baseball at the time, Ford Frinck, did declare that if the record was broken in 162 games it would reflect that in the record book with a special sentence. That season was a little plot of hell for Maris, everyone loved Mantle and the Babe. His hair began falling out in clumps because of the stress, the death threats, and the hate mail Maris, the blunt spoken Midwesterner was an outcast. Maris even said "I'm not trying to be Babe Ruth; I'm trying to hit sixty-one home runs and be Roger Maris." Nice try, Roger. Mantle's attempt was derailed by a hip infection, and it was Maris that broke the record on October 1, 1961 against the Boston Red Sox. Later, after his retirement from the game, Maris said "They acted as though I was doing something wrong, poisoning the record books or something. Do you know what I have to show for 61 home runs? Nothing. Exactly nothing." Of course Maris' record has since been broken by two well known juicers, but his record is still the standard for the American League. There have been calls for his record to be reinstated as the "true" record, and for one, I would not oppose it. He might have been facing a couple of shifty pitchers, but at least he was not juiced. So for proving that you don't have to juice to hit the long ball that chicks dig, and for just trying to be the best Roger Maris he could be. Roger Maris (September 10th, 1934-December 14th, 1985 of cancer), you are my hero of the day.

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