A Look at 1961- Did Roger Maris Really Break Babe Ruth's Home Run Record?
As I was reading through a book last night, , I managed to find myself in 1961, the year Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single season home run record.
What I was looking for was some more baseball knowledge to then pass on to all the kids at school who don’t really care (Some might say that’s everyone), but I found a mystery that needs to be solved.
Did Roger Maris really break Babe Ruth’s single season home record?
Now the argument is that Maris had more games to hit his 61 home runs that Ruth had to hit his 60. That is true, however for some reason no one has looked at the at bats each player had in their respected record seasons.
Babe Ruth (1927)- 60 home runs in 540 at bats
Roger Maris (1961)- 61 home runs in 590 at bats
So obviously that is a case towards Ruth’s case. Although neither record still stands, I have still been hearing people complaining, which is why this needs to be resolved.
I have heard the amount of games issue more times than I can count, but I have yet to hear the African American issue.
When Ruth was playing, African Americans weren’t allowed to play, thus cutting nearly half of the sports talent. When Maris broke the record in 1961, African Americans had been playing for nearly 15 seasons.
If half of the best players aren’t pitching, then the pitching is only half as good, thus giving the batters a harder time to hit home runs after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.
Mantle had to face all of the Caucasian players of the time and all of the African American pitchers, resulting in Ruth’s case weakening greatly.
You might be wondering that Maris’s record is official and if it’s broken, it’s broken. But it wasn’t officially broken until 1991.
That’s right, this issue was floating around three decades after the record was broken.
So many fans, media personnel and fellow players kept asking Maris if he thinks that he broke the record that he actually regretted hitting that last home run. He thought that all of baseball hated him just for breaking a record.
"They acted as though I was doing something wrong, poisoning the record books or something. Do you know what I have to show for 61 home runs? Nothing. Exactly nothing."
Maris did however have 59 home runs in the 154 games that Ruth played, which would seem that he didn’t really break the record.
But doesn’t facing easier pitching help you hit more home runs than eight games would?
In my book that would be a yes, thus giving Roger Maris credit of breaking Babe Ruth’s single season home run record.
What do you think?
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