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Subject: ARCHIVE: December 14, 1985 ~Roger Maris, Pro baseball great, who in the 1961 season set the MLB record with 61 home runs, breaking Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 home runs, but sadly died young age of 51 from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. ...

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Date Posted: Friday, December 14, 07:36:53pm

Maris, seen here with President Kennedy in the White House's
Oval Office, celebrating Maris' recent baseball achievement.

Roger Maris
[Roger Eugene Maris ]
(September 10, 1934 December 14, 1985)

American professional baseball player who played four seasons in the minor leagues and twelve seasons in the major leagues. Maris played right field on four Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, from 1957 through 1968. Maris set the MLB record for home runs during the 1961 season with 61, breaking Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 home runs in 1927. This record was challenged by then-baseball commissioner Ford Frick (who had been a friend of Babe Ruth's), who said that Maris needed to break the record in 154 games instead of the current schedule of 162 games. His accomplishment of 61 home runs in a season came back to the forefront in 1998, when the 61 homer mark was exceeded by Mark McGwire, and later that same year by Sammy Sosa. Barry Bonds currently holds the single-season home run record of 73, which he accomplished in 2001. However, all those who exceeded Maris's single season record did so during baseball's so-called "steroid era", and each of those players who surpassed 61 has been linked to steroids. As such, many baseball fans still consider Roger Maris's 61 HRs in 1961 to be baseball's legitimate single season home run record.

Maris began playing in the minor leagues in 1953. He reached the major leagues in 1957 playing for the Cleveland Indians. He was traded to the Kansas City Athletics during the 1958 season, and to the New York Yankees after the 1959 season. He finished his MLB career playing for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1967 and 1968. Maris was an American League (AL) All-Star from 1959 through 1962, an AL Most Valuable Player in 1960 and 1961, and an AL Gold Glove Award winner in 1960. Maris appeared in seven World Series, five as a member of the Yankees and two with the Cardinals.

Learn MORE about Baseball great Roger Maris

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