A King Without His Crown: Should Roger Maris Have a Plaque in Cooperstown?

D.A.Senior Writer IJuly 22, 2009

Before I get to my arguments, let me clear a couple of things up.

First, Roger Maris is the single season home run king.

It's a disgrace that there was a stigma associated with Maris for so many years after his brilliant 1961 season. It's even more of a disgrace that cheaters in Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa "broke" that record. Maris did it with talent, and went through brutal hell to break the Babe's record. The cheaters did it with artificial help and disgraced and deceived the baseball world.

Second, Roger Maris was a great player.

It's a simple statement, but it's the truth. When you win the Most Valuable Player award twice, then you were obviously at the top of the Major League Baseball world for two years. Maris was also a four-time All-Star and has a Gold Glove in his repertoire.

Now on to my argument. Roger Maris does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. A Hall of Famer excels throughout the majority of his career, or at least reaches career milestones. Maris only had two great years, and the rest of his career was just mediocre. Here are my reasons/rebuttals that Maris does not belong in the Hall of Fame.

1. The numbers never lie

Maris R H HR RBI BB BA OBPOPS+
Career8261325275851652.260.345127
162-game avg91147309472------


These numbers are just average across the board. A .260 lifetime batting average and .346 career on-base percentage are not particularly impressive. Maris also never reached 300 home runs, 1,000 RBI, or even 1,500 hits. His numbers for his season averages are not bad at all, they're just not Hall-worthy.

2. But he won two MVPs...

Yes, Maris won two MVPs, and that's about all he did. I could argue that Mickey Mantle deserved those awards, but I won't go that deep. The point is Maris had those two great seasons, and that's it.

If we were going to put people in the Hall of Fame based on a couple of good seasons, then we should put in Luis Gonzalez (1999 & 2001), George Foster (1976-1978), Walt Dropo (1950), and Mike Sweeney (2000) in the Hall of Fame for having dominating seasons. It's ridiculous and not going to happen.

3. But he (legitimately) has the single season home run record...

Yes, he had one good year with his home run swing. So did Brady Anderson, Cecil Fielder, and Greg Vaughn. Maris did not hit home runs consistently throughout the rest of his career. Maris never hit more than 40 home runs in any other season and he only hit more than 30 two other times in his career.

To complement his home run hitting abilities, Maris only had three 100+ RBI seasons. The closest he ever came to the 100 RBI milestone besides those seasons was 80. Once again, this proves his numbers were compacted into that three-four year span.

4. But he has three World Series rings...

First off, this isn't basketball. One player can't lead to complete World Series domination.

Look at the players that Roger Maris had on his supporting cast—Mickey Mantle, Yoggi Berra, Bill Skowron, Whitey Ford, Lou Brock, Steve Carlton, Orlando Cepeda, and Bob Gibson all had parts in the World Series victories of the Yankees and Cardinals.

Also, it's not like Roger Maris single-handedly won the World Series. In his seven World Series appearances, Maris only batted .217 with six home runs, 18 RBI, and a .298 on-base percentage. To be fairly blunt, Maris was not good in the postseason. So his rings shouldn't count for him.

So do you agree or disagree? If you elect Roger Maris into Cooperstown, you're going to also have put Dale Murphy, Bob Johnson, Andre Dawson, and a lot of other deserving people in there first.

Yes, Maris has a great history and is one of the most recognizable names in baseball history. But the voters have been right not put him in the Hall of Fame.

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