Mantle was getting terrific press towards the middle of the season. Maris was slammed in the press. Fans chanted Mantle's name and hurled chairs, nuts, bolts, and half-empty drink bottles towards Maris. One such object - with a nail sticking out of it - struck him in the head. He missed several games as a result.
Maris ended up hitting 60 homers that year. Mantle only hit 52. But Mantle had more than twice as many hits (116) as Maris (54).
The next season, Maris hit 61 homers while Mantle only hit 30. But again, Mantle had more hits (159) than Maris (95).
In other words, it wasn't just fans chanting for Mantle. The media had already made their decision and would not be swayed from it.
Maris has accomplished a number of other noteworthy milestones throughout his MLB career. He received two MVP titles, seven all-star selections, and one gold glove trophy throughout his career. He also played on three World Series championship teams, two with the New York Yankees and one with the St. Louis Cardinals. As a member of the Yankees, he appeared in six World Series games, winning four of them. Overall, he hit.275 with 30 home runs and 102 RBIs in 401 games played.
After graduating from high school in 1951, Maris went to college at Kansas State University. While there, he played baseball for the Wildcats from 1955 to 1958. In his three years as a starter, he led the team in hits, batting average, and total bases each season. He was named first team All-America twice and won the Golden Spikes Award as the top amateur player in the country.
In 1962, Maris became the first player in history to hit over.300 with 100 RBIs and 20 HRs while playing in only 105 games due to injury. The following year, he set the single-season record by hitting.308 with 147 hits in 152 games played. This mark has since been broken by several others including Mike Schmidt (1978) and Barry Bonds (2001).
After ending his career with the Yankees in 1969, Maris signed with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Roger Maris was more than just a fantastic baseball player. He was a wonderful parent, husband, and man. He was a hero as well. He's better renowned now than he was in 1961, when he shattered Babe Ruth's single-season home run record. But at the time, few people knew how much pain he had been through to reach that point.
Maris had first come to public attention while playing for the New York Yankees in 1959. At 6' 3", 215 pounds, he was then considered one of the biggest stars in all of sports. The following year, he led the Yankees to their first World Series title in twenty years.
After his contract with the Yankees expired, Maris decided to try out for the Kansas City Athletics. He didn't know how long he would be able to play after breaking Ruth's record, so he wanted to have a good season and make some money before he retired. The A's were willing to pay him $150,000 (about $1.5 million in today's dollars), which at the time was a lot of money.
But things didn't go according to plan. Maris only played 62 games due to knee problems. He hit 44 homers but only another 47 runs scored. Even so, the A's finished above.500 for the first time since 1947.
Sal Durante, Maris' 61st Brooklyn truck driver, attempted to return the ball to Maris, but the Yankees slugger insisted that Durante sell the ball and retain the money. The fan later sold it for $5,000 to a restaurant owner, who exhibited the ball until giving it to Maris. The ball is now housed at the Hall of Fame.
Maris was nearing the end of his career when he hit this ball. He retired after the season ended in September 1960. Although some people believe the ball to be lost forever, it was actually donated in 1973 by Tom O'Malley to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
The Yankees commemorated the 50th anniversary of Roger Maris' single-season home run record at Yankee Stadium on September 22, 2011. In addition, on September 24, the Ride of Fame in New York City dedicated a double-decker tour bus to Maris' legacy. The bus travels around Manhattan before stopping at various locations where Maris broke records or where he delivered speeches during his lifetime.
Maris died in January 2009 at the age of 88. He hit the first major league home run ever to be recorded by a television camera (April 19, 1961).
During Game 1 of the 2001 World Series, between innings 6 and 7, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner announced that if Derek Jeter played well enough to keep his job, then Mantle would be honored by having a plaque placed in Monument Park acknowledging him as the greatest Yankee player of all time. If not, then Joe DiMaggio would get the same honor. Jeter played well enough to stay in the lineup, and so the ceremony took place prior to Game 2. On August 14, 2011, just over a year after Maris's death, the Yankees held a ceremony in his memory at their New York City clubhouse. They presented his family with a trophy they called the Roger Maris Award, which is given to the player who leads the Yankees in home runs.
In November 2011, the Yankees retired Number 9 in honor of Maris.