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Roger Maris
I was PLANNING on breaking down both Maris and the player to whom he will forever be tied to, Mark McGwire, today. However, the amount of content available for both players is so vast I decided to make two episodes. So, without further ado, let’s discuss the Hall of Fame case of Yankees, Athletics, and Cardinals outfielder Roger Maris.

Roger Maris’s reasons he SHOULD be in the Hall of Fame

-One of only three two-time MVP winners to not make the Hall of Fame (Barry Bonds and Dale Murphy are the others)

-He hit 61 home runs in 1961, breaking a record many said would never be broken.

-He hit his 275 career homers before the advent of steroids. His 61 home run season is also apparently blameless.

-In his short career, he participated in seven World Series

-He was considered the best corner outfielder in the game during his prime

Roger Maris’s detractors will point to the following:

-Career batting average of .260, the lowest of any Hall Of Fame outfielder.

-Only twelve seasons of major league service, plus only four years where he played more than 140 games.

-Without 1961, there’s no way he’d be featured on this podcast.

I really thought that, after looking at the data, I would look at the back-to-back MVP seasons, plus the single-season home run record (under tremendous media scrutiny, death threats, and a frustratingly antagonistic New York fan base that revered Babe Ruth but treated Maris like a carpetbagger)

The case is much more difficult than I expected it to be. On one hand, the 61* movie by Billy Crystal colored my judgment and made me believe that Maris was a sure-fire Hall of Famer. Sabermatrician Rob Neyer wrote last year that Maris isn’t a Hall of Famer. and it isn’t close. The question, of course, is what is MY verdict? Tune into the episode to find out. You might want to revisit Bill Simmons’ mythical five-level Hall of Fame as you listen to the show.
Links:
The 1961 Major League Expansion Draft
Why Isn’t Roger Maris in the Hall of Fame (Moran)
Neyer: Nope, Roger Maris Isn’t a Hall of Famer
61*


About the Author

I'm a 38 year old writer from New Providence, New Jersey, working a "day job" as a data processor in North Carolina. When I'm not slaving away at that job, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool baseball fan who enjoys discussing today's baseball news in a historical context. I'm a former columnist for the Summit Herald in New Jersey and a college radio geek who decided to use the power of podcasting to share my point of view wih the world. Besides baseball, I love horse racing, video games, and good music (who doesn't?). I am a Christian and live with my wife Amy and two cats Reagan and Cassie in our home studio. Expect more writing from me at scotteiland.com, and thank you for listening!

2 Responses to 7: Roger Maris

  1. Brad Haven says:

    I understand your complaint about the draft for the Astros and the Mets back in the 60s but surely you don’t think that same draft a factor playing today?

    • Scott says:

      I don’t think that the 1961 expansion draft has anything to do with the Astros’ play today. I’m just upset about the forced switch to the American League. The fact that the ‘Stros and Mets have spent such a large percentage of their years circling the drain is a unique combination of bad luck and terrible decision making.