Roger Maris: Still the True Home Run King (Video)
by Beth Hoole, KVRR Sports Reporter
September 21, 2011
October 1st marks the 50th anniversary of Roger Maris' record breaking 61 home run season.
To commemorate the day the New York Yankees have chosen Friday's series opener against the Boston Red Sox as the perfect way to remember the man still seen by many, as the true home run king.
It was a half century ago that baseball history was made as Roger Maris stepped to the plate and stroked his 61st home run, it is a record many believe still has not been broken.
"We're excited just to know that dad's record is still out there and that they're actually celebrating it," says Roger Maris Jr., "and in Yankee Stadium. It's obviously something we're all looking forward to."
It will be a huge day for the Roger Maris' family and the entire community of Fargo, as the New York Yankees aren't simply celebrating Roger Maris' record; but in a way, they're reliving it.
The night will include the two sons of his long time friend and teammate Mickey Mantle, the bat boys from the 61 season and the fan who caught the infamous 61st home run.
Even more special they're hosting the Boston Red Sox. The very same rival Maris hit his record breaking home run off of.
"I don't think there could be a better team to do it in front of," Roger Maris Jr. said.
The ceremony will include the honoring of Maris' achievement and his storied career with the Yankees but most important to the Maris family, is the presence of their beloved husband and fathers' friends.
In all, an evening Roger Maris Jr. knows his father would love.
"I know he'd be excited to think his records been around this long. It's been a significant record, a very controversial record but I think he'd be looking forward to the weekend."
While the city of Fargo has always supported their home town hero as the true home run king, Roger Maris' record has been a controversy from the very start of that 1961 season. Despite the Yankee uniform Maris proudly adorned, some Yankee fans were upset to see Babe Ruth's 60 single season home run record broken by Maris and not fan favorite Mickey Mantle.
Then came the steroid era of Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa.
"After all the steroid era and everything else, it continues to be controversial to this day," says Roger Maris Jr. reflecting. "You know a lot of people believe he is the home run king for single season and we certainly believe that."
Official or not, one asterisk or none, this weekend will honor Roger Maris, the great number nine, and for Fargo, the one true home run king.