New York City (JFK+50) Fifty-three years ago today, October 1, 1961, New York Yankee slugger Roger Maris* belted his 61st home run of the season to break Babe Ruth's long-standing record of 60 homers in a single season.
The historic home run came in the 4th inning of the final game of the season at Yankee Stadium here in New York. In his first at bat of the game, Maris had popped out. He was facing Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard who threw him a fastball.
The Maris home run sparked controversy, however, because Babe Ruth had hit 60 home runs during a span of 154 games, while Roger Maris hit 61 in 162 games. The American League's position was that these were two separate records.
Thirty years later, however, Major League Baseball awarded the single season home run record exclusively to Maris.
Roger Maris and JFK
Roger was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1953 and was traded to the Kansas City Athletics before becoming a Yankee in 1960. After a 6 year stint with the Yanks, Roger played with the St. Louis Cardinals.
RM was a 7 time all star, played on 3 world championship teams, won 2 American League MVP awards and 1 Golden Glove. His #9 was retired by the NYY.
In 1993, Roger was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and died 2 years later in Houston, Texas.
Roger Maris Museum