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September 26, 1961: Roger Maris Hits HR #60, Tying Babe Ruth's Record

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    September 26, 1961: Roger Maris Hits HR #60, Tying Babe Ruth's Record
    "At Yankee Stadium, Roger Maris ties Babe Ruth's 34 year-old single-season record with his 60th home run of the year, a high drive down the right-field line off on a curveball thrown by Orioles right-hander Jack Fisher. The slugger's homer comes in the 159th game of the expanded season, keeping Ruth as the single-season home run leader according to baseball commissioner Ford Frick, who ruled for the mark to be shared or broken, the historic round-tripper had to come in the first 154 games of the season."

    New York Yankees History: Roger Maris Hits 60th Homer:
    Excerpts from the article:

    "Although he only had 59 homers through 154 games, Maris still had eight more games in which to hunt Ruth’s record. He made the most of those extra chances, as on this day in 1961, he tied the Yankees legend with his 60th home run."
    "Facing off against the Baltimore Orioles and Jack Fisher in the 159th game of the season, Maris was stuck on 59 home runs. It seemed as though the chase had gotten to him, as he only had four hits in his previous 23 at bats. He did hit a home run, but with so few games left, the Bambino’s record looked like it may withstand this latest challenge."
    "While many did not want to give him proper credit at the time, Maris’ legacy grew over the years. The asterisk faded on its own, and now, many consider Maris to be the last player to hit 60 or more homers without PED usage. Even with steroids, it took almost four decades for another player to make a serious run at his record."

    Maris' 60th homer of 1961:

    Roger Maris (Biography)

    (This article was written by Bill Pruden)
    Excerpts from the article:

    "With one extraordinary season Roger Maris secured his place in baseball history. And yet his establishment of the major league home run record in 1961 proved to be more of a personal curse than a professional triumph. It also overshadowed, indeed overwhelmed, the totality of a career characterized at least as much by his consistent and important contributions to a string of League and World Championship teams–in both leagues throughout the 1960s–as by any single slugging accomplishment."

    In 1961, "Mobbed on road trips, hounded in the streets, Maris could not even attend Catholic mass in peace. It was not a life he wanted or accepted–he wanted to be a ballplayer, not a celebrity–and as the pennant and home run races moved toward their climax, he became increasingly short-tempered and distraught, often hiding in the training room to avoid the prying reporters with what he saw as their repetitious and often inane questions. Amidst the tension Maris‘s hair felt out in clumps, and he had trouble sleeping."

    Maris hit "...his fifty-sixth on September 9, but the fifty-seventh did not come until a week later. Number fifty-eight came the next day in game number 152. The Yankees then traveled to Baltimore, Babe Ruth’s hometown. Maris struggled early before hitting number fifty-nine off Milt Pappas in the third inning of game number 154. Three subsequent at-bats yielded only one very long foul ball and a long drive to right center field that was hauled down by Earl Robinson in front of the fence, and so while Maris had become only the second player in major league history to hit fifty-nine home runs, he would not be breaking the record according to Commissioner Frick’s dictates. However, the 1961 season did include 162 games, and Maris took advantage of the full schedule. Back at Yankee Stadium, the left-handed slugger hit his sixtieth off Baltimore right-hander Jack Fisher on September 26."

    "The off-season was, in some ways no less a blur than the season itself had been, but this time, finally, Maris was being feted for his accomplishments. A second Most Valuable Player Award as well as the Hickok Belt given to the outstanding professional athlete of the year were among the highlights of the busy winter banquet circuit."
    "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson