Roger Maris

Baseball Player

Born: 10 September 1934
Died: 14 December 1985 (lymphatic cancer)
Birthplace: Hibbing, Minnesota
Best known as:

The man who broke Babe Ruth's single-season home run record

Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961 to break baseball's single-season record of 60, set by Babe Ruth in 1927. Maris set the new record after a spirited season-long duel with fellow New York Yankee Mickey Mantle, who hit 54 homers the same year. Though Maris was the American League's MVP in both 1960 and 1961, he was not considered a major star and was maligned by some fans who felt he wasn't fit to stand alongside the legendary Ruth. (Similar sentiments cropped up when Hank Aaron beat Ruth's career home run record.) Roger Maris's record was considered unofficial for some time, since it was achieved in 162 games rather than the 154-game season Ruth played; this is often referred to as "the asterisk" by Maris's name. In 1991, baseball commissioner Fay Vincent declared Maris to be the sole and official record holder, thereby ending the controversy. Maris's record was broken by Mark McGwire, who hit 70 home runs during the 1998 season.

Extra credit:

Roger Maris wore #9 and batted left-handed... He was traded to St. Louis in 1967 and retired after the 1968 season... Roger Maris played himself in small roles in the 1962 movies Safe at Home (with Mickey Mantle) and That Touch of Mink (with Cary Grant and Doris Day)... He was played by actor Barry Pepper in the 2001 HBO movie 61* (directed by Billy Crystal).

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