Flashback: Roger Maris topples the Babe with homer No. 61
Roger Maris made history while also earning his fabled asterisk as one of the sport’s most hallowed records fell.
On Oct. 1, 1961, Maris blasted his 61st homer of the season, breaking Babe Ruth’s single-season mark that stood since 1927.
The historic homer came in the New York Yankees’ final game of the regular season. Maris connected off Boston Red Sox right-hander Tracy Stallard in the fourth inning and sent the ball into the right-field stands.
MLB Commissioner Ford Frick disputed the authenticity of the record because Maris played a 162-game schedule while Ruth was limited to a 154-game schedule. It wasn’t until 1991 that MLB officially awarded the record to Maris. And, of course, Maris’ single-season home run record ultimately was broken by Mark McGwire in 1998 and then again by Barry Bonds in 2001.
Maris, who won his second consecutive AL MVP Award in 1961, remained with the Yankees through the 1966 season before playing the final two seasons of his 12-season major-league career with the St. Louis Cardinals. As was the case before hitting 61 homers, he never again hit 40 in a season. He finished with 275 homers.
As for his Hall of Fame chances, Maris peaked at 43.1 percent of the vote in 1988 — his final year on the writers’ ballot.