Major league baseball
player in the 1950s and 1960s, most famous for holding the single-season home run
record, until Mark McGwire
and Sammy Sosa
broke it in 1998.
Maris (DOB: 9/10/1934 in Hibbing, Minnesota) started his major league career with the Cleveland Indians in 1957 before being traded to the Kansas City Royals the next year. In 1959, he was an All-Star for KC. Following the season, Maris was dealt again...this time to the New York Yankees.
In 1960, Maris won his first MVP award, batting .283, with 39 home runs (2nd in the American League) and 112 RBIs (tops in the AL). He also won his only Gold Glove Award for defense that year.
That was a prelude to 1961, when Maris chased the legendary Babe Ruth's mark of 60 home runs in a season, which he set in 1927. Maris and his teammate Mickey Mantle both pursued the record that summer, with many rooting for Mantle over Maris, or preferring that the record remain Ruth's. On the final day of the season (October 1, 1961), Maris hit #61, breaking the decades old mark (Mantle ended up with 54 homers). Maris also led the league with 142 RBIs, en route to winning his 2nd straight MVP.
Maris had several further productive years with the Yankees, before being dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals after the 1966 season. He played his final two seasons in St. Louis, retiring following 1968.
Maris played in 7 All-Star Games and 7 World Series, hitting 275 homers in his career (regular season).
Despite all the positives, Maris is not a member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. He was viewed by many as a one-dimensional player, batting only .260 overall. His career was quite short, preventing Maris from compiling stats that would merit inclusion in the Hall.
The Yankees retired Maris's #9 in 1984. Roger Maris died on Dec. 14, 1985 of cancer.