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SEE PHOTOS----- COMPLETE full size newspaper reprint of the NY Mirror dated Oct 2, 1961. Banner headlines on front and back pages announce that NY Yankee ROGER MARIS has hit his 61st home run to break Babe Ruth's single season record of 60 home runs, set in 1927. BEST headline and display newspaper that I have ever seen for the day that Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's record.
GREAT FOR FRAMING !
Roger Maris (September 10, 1934 – December 14, 1985) was an American right fielder in Major League Baseball who is primarily remembered for breaking Babe Ruth's 34-year-old single-season home run record in 1961 on the last day of the season.
In 1961, the American League expanded from 8 to 10 teams, generally watering down the pitching, but leaving the Yankees pretty much intact. Yankee home runs began to come at a record pace. One famous photograph lined up six 1961 Yankee players, including Mantle, Maris, Yogi Berra, and Bill Skowron, under the nickname "Murderer's Row," because they hit a combined 207 home runs that year. The title "Murderers' Row", originally coined in 1918, had most famously been used to refer to the Yankees side of the late 1920s. As mid-season approached, it seemed quite possible that either Maris or Mantle, or perhaps both, would break Ruth's 34-year-old home run record. Unlike the home run race of 1998, in which both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were given extensive positive media coverage, sportswriters in 1961 began to play the "M & M Boys" against each other, inventing a rivalry where none existed, as Yogi Berra has testified in recent interviews.
Five years earlier, in 1956, Mantle had already challenged Ruth's record for most of the season and the New York press had been protective of Ruth on that occasion also. When Mantle finally fell short, finishing with 52, there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief from the New York traditionalists. Nor had the New York press been all that kind to Mantle in his early years with the team: he struck out frequently, was injury prone, was a true "hick" from Oklahoma, and was perceived as being distinctly inferior to his predecessor in center field, Joe DiMaggio. Over the course of time, however, Mantle (with a little help from his teammate Whitey Ford, a native of New York's Borough of Queens) had gotten better at "schmoozing" with the New York media, and had gained the favor of the press. This was a talent that Maris, a blunt-spoken upper midwesterner, never attempted to cultivate; as a result, he wore the "surly" jacket for his duration with the Yankees.
So as 1961 progressed, the Yanks were now "Mickey Mantle's team" and Maris was ostracized as the "outsider", and "not a true Yankee." The press seemed to root for Mantle and to belittle Maris. But Mantle was felled by a leg infection late in the season, leaving Maris as the only player with a chance to break the record.
On top of his lack of popular press coverage, Maris' chase for 61 hit another roadblock totally out of his control: along with adding two teams to the league, Major League Baseball had added 8 games to the schedule. In the middle of the season, Baseball commissioner Ford Frick announced that unless Ruth's record was broken in the first 154 games of the season, the new record would be shown in the record books as having been set in 162 games while the previous record set in 154 games would also be shown. It is an urban legend, probably invented by New York sportswriter Dick Young, that an asterisk would be used to distinguish the new record.
Maris failed to reach 61 in 154 games (he had only 59 after the 1st 154 games). He hit his 61st on October 1, 1961, in the fourth inning of the last game of the season, a sparsely attended contest between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox in New York. The Red Sox pitcher was Evan Tracy Stallard. No asterisk was subsequently used in any record books—Major League baseball itself had no official record book, and Frick later acknowledged that there never was official qualification of Maris' accomplishment. However, Maris remained bitter about the experience. Speaking at the 1980 All-Star game, he said of that season, "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." Despite all the controversy, Maris was awarded the 1961 Hickok Belt for the top professional athlete of the year, as well as winning the American League's MVP Award for the second straight year. It is said, however, that the stress of pursuing the record was so great for Maris that his hair occasionally fell out in clumps during the season. Later Maris even surmised that it might have been better all along had he not broken the record or even threatened it at all.
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