50 years ago from October 1, Roger Maris surpassed Babe Ruth as the single season homerun champion. Now it doesn’t seem like it should be a huge deal, but as the 50th anniversary arrives people are just now giving credit where it was due. I think he should have gotten more praise than bad press at the time of his actual achievement. The Yankees held a ceremony for Maris during the first game of the playoffs at Yankee Stadium where his sons were given one of his old bats and threw out the first pitch. What’s sad about Roger Maris’ situation is that he was in the shadow of Mickey Mantle and the rest of murderer’s row throughout his entire career with the Yankees.
It is very sad when a player who is truly great is not recognized simply because he is outshined by another player who isn’t necessarily better. Maris is still fighting for respect when it should have just been given to him. He literally achieved one of baseball’s greatest achievements and was not recognized for it until way later. After his death, he was commemorated in Monument Park where his plaque reads “In 1961 he became the only player to hit more than 60 homeruns in a single season in belated recognition of one of baseball’s greatest achievements ever. He hit 61 in ’61. The Yankees salute him as a great player and as author of one of the most remarkable chapters in the history of Major League Baseball.”
It is absolutely crazy to me how someone who did so much for baseball was so little recognized! Also I kind of like that he spent less than a semester at the University of Oklahoma- obviously he had some good sense in him. You know, I can’t help but love those “coming from nothing” and completely making someone out of yourself in the world, whatever I’m a sap for those stories. I’m not sure how much of a difference it makes now but I hope baseball fans everywhere realize he wasn’t just a “one year guy” he helped build one of the most important eras in not just Yankee history but also in the entire history of baseball.