On December 5, the Committee of the Initial Era (before 1950) and the Committee of the Era of the Golden Years (1950-69) will meet to choose from their respective ballots of 10 players to the next immortalized in the Hall of Fame. Results will be revealed live on the MLB Network that same night at 6 pm ET.
Here, we have a preview of one of the 20 players that are being considered.
Career stats: .260 / .345 / .476, 1,325 hits, 275 HR, 850 CI, 21 BR
Although her numbers are not on par with the sluggers in the Hall of Fame, Maris certainly left a clear mark on baseball history – and the Golden Years Committee is tasked with evaluating her.
Maris signed with the Cleveland club as an amateur free agent and made his big team debut in 1957. In June, he was sent to the Kansas City Athletics along with Dick Tomanek and Preston Ward in exchange for Woodie Held and Victor Pellot (Vic Power).
After being called up to his first All-Star Game in 1959, the outfielder went to the Yankees with Joe DeMaestri and Kent Hadley in exchange for Hank Bauer, Don Larsen, Norm Siebern and Marv Throneberry.
Like the other half of the “M&M Boys,” alongside Mickey Mantle, Maris emerged as one of the best players in the majors. As a member of the Bronx Bombers, Maris won two Most Valuable Player awards, two World Series titles, and in 1961 he hit 61 home runs to break the Babe Ruth record for home runs in a season.
After seven seasons with New York, Maris was traded to the Cardinals and played his final two years in St. Louis, where he won another World Series. Maris was 34 years old when he played his last MLB game, so he didn’t have a chance to hit the numbers that would have brought him closer to being inducted into the Hall of Fame when he was on the ballot for the North American Writers Association (BBWAA for its acronym in English).
In his 15 years on the ballot, his highest number of votes was 43.1% in 1988, his 15th and final year of eligibility on the BBWAA ballot. But now he has another chance to be immortalized in Cooperstown.
Here are the reasons why the impact of Maris’s career is still being felt, more than 50 years after her last campaign and more than three decades after she passed away at age 51 in 1985.
61 in 1961
Any discussion of Maris’ legacy must begin with 1961, one of the most famous individual seasons in MLB history.
Ruth’s record of 60 home runs held firm for 33 years, with several coming close but falling short. There were 10 seasons with at least 50 homers from 1928 to 1960 – two by Jimmie Foxx, two by Ralph Kiner, and one each by Ruth, Mantle, Hank Greenberg, Willie Mays, Johnny Mize and Hack Wilson. Foxx and Greenberg came the closest with 58 home runs in 1932 and 1938, respectively.
Heading into 1961, Maris had never hit 40 home runs, hitting 39 during his 1960 AL MVP season. But in 1961 he flared up, initiating an epic battle with Mantle for Ruth’s mark.
With some fans believing that Ruth’s record was unworthy, Maris received threatening letters throughout the season and the introverted ranger dealt with so much stress that he began to lose his hair on his way to the record.
The other source of controversy came with the implementation of a 162-game regular season, which was eight more than the 192 schedule, when Ruth hit 60 homers. Ford C. Frick, the Commissioner at the time, stated during a press conference that a player had to exceed 60 homers in his first 154 games of the season to be considered the true owner of the record. Frick hinted at adding a differentiation class – an asterisk was suggested by columnist Dick Young – in the record books if someone made it after 154 encounters. (At the time, there was no “official” trademark book, so Frick’s statement was a recommendation that independent record keepers were not required to follow)
Maris was able to isolate all the noise and on the final day of the regular season, he hit his 61st home run of the year, breaking Ruth’s record with a solo slam down the right meadow at the close of the fourth inning of the 1-0 win. of the Yankees over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
The battle for the 1998 home run record saw Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa beat Maris with 70 and 66 homers, respectively. Later, Barry Bonds set a mark at 73 in 2001, but speculation about the use of banned substances has cast doubt on the validity of those exploits.
The MVPs consecutively
The 1961 campaign earned Maris the Young Circuit MVP award for the second year in a row. In addition to 61 homers, Maris hit .269 with 141 RBIs, 132 runs scored, a total of 366 bases hit and a .993 OPS.
The outfielder was the AL MVP in his first year with the Yankees after hitting .282 with 39 homers, 112 RBIs, 98 runs scored, a total of 290 bases reached and a .952 OPS.
What’s impressive is also the fact that he took those MVPs as a partner to the legendary Mantle, who finished behind Maris in 1960 and 1961, before winning his third MVP award in 1962.
Few were better from 1959 to 1964
Maris’ two years of MVP were part of a six-year stretch (1959-64) in which he hit 198 home runs with 549 RBIs and .890 OPS (OPS + 142) in 807 games.
Among players with at least 3,000 plate hits in the same span, Maris was ninth in OPS + behind seven Hall of Famers – Mantle, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Eddie Mathews, Harmon Killebrew and the Puerto Rican Orlando “Peruchín” Cepeda – and Norm Cash.
Only Killebrew, Mays, Aaron, Rocky Colavito and Mantle hit more homers than Maris in those six years.
Three World Series titles
In the 12 years from 1947-58, covering the end of the Joe DiMaggio era and the beginning of the Mantle era in the Bronx, the Yankees won eight World Series titles and reached the Fall Classic on two other occasions. But in 1959, the year before Maris joined the team, New York went 79-75, which was its worst win-loss percentage (.513) since 1925.
Maris earned his third championship ring in his first season with the Cardinals, when they outscored the Red Sox in seven games. By helping St. Louis win the title, Maris pushed past the hurdles he faced in the Fall Classic, leading all players with seven RBIs and a .385 (26-10) homer with a .972 home run and OPS. .
Maris helped the Cardinals reach another World Series in 1968, although they lost to the Tigers in seven games. He shares with Ruth the 10th place of all time in games played in the Fall Classic (41).
We want to say thanks to the author of this article for this incredible material
Maris with another chance to go to the Salon