Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa? Commissioner Ford Frick stated in October 1960 that an American League (AL) batter who challenged Babe Ruth's season home run record of 60 must do so inside his team's first 154 games, not the new 162 games in 1961. The record has since been surpassed three times by McGwire, Sosa, and Mark McGuire.
Ruth retired after the 1920 season, but he came back for one more year at the age of 36. In that last season, Ruth played in 154 games and finished with a career high 207 hits. He also hit 69 homers, which was one more than his previous best mark. Ruth ended up with 714 total bases, which is currently third all-time behind McGwire and Sosa.
During Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, when the New York Yankees were battling the Brooklyn Dodgers, 40-year-old Ruth got his 600th career homer off Johnny Podres of the Dodgers. The ball landed in the stands in right field at Yankee Stadium. An estimated 50,000 fans went berserk when they saw this happen. It was the last game that Ruth played in New York until he returned for two games in 1962 following his retirement.
Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire, who smashed Babe Ruth and Roger Maris' single-season records of 60 home runs in 154 games and the modern-day record of 61 home runs in 162 games, have now individually been tarnished, returning the title of Home Run King to its proper owners and period. Only one other player has even tried it: Pete Rose, who batted.342 with 149 homers over 8 years (1977-1984). If he were still playing today, his reputation would preclude such a challenge, but back then nobody knew anything about baseball's drug problem so nothing prevented him from trying.
In fact, several players have approached or reached 60 home runs in a season while remaining under a full year's service time. Four players - Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, and Alex Rodriguez - have reached this mark while playing only 152 or 153 games. All 4 players remain active in MLB and are expected to be featured participants in this year's All-Star Game.
It is possible for a player to reach 60 home runs in less than a full season if he misses significant time due to injury. In 2001, Jim Thome set a new American League record by hitting 62 home runs while playing in only 130 games due to knee injuries. Before Thome's injury-riddled season, no player had ever hit more than 59 homers while playing in less than 140 games.
Mark McGwire set a new MLB record with 70 home runs in 1998; Barry Bonds broke that mark with 73 in 2001. Maris still holds the American League record for most home runs in a single season. He hit 61 in 1961, which at the time was a major league record.
Maris's record has since been broken several times. Alex Rodriguez broke it in 2004 with more than one per game; McGwire had done so in 1998. The current AL record is 49 home runs by Seattle's David Ortiz in 2012. In the National League, Giancarlo Stanton has already hit 57 homers this year -- one more than McGwire's record-breaking season!
Stanton is also on track to break Maris's record of 264 total bases. The previous record was 250, which was held by Ted Williams from 1947 to '51 and by Willie Mays from 1956 to '60.
Aristotle "Astro" Anastopoulos was the first player in Major League history to hit 60 home runs. The Yankees' Mickey Mantle had previously set the mark with 55 in 1958. By hitting number 61, Mark McGwire became only the second player after Mantle to have a season with at least 60 home runs and an average over.300.
Bonds, Barry With 762 home runs, Barry Bonds owns the major league baseball home run record. On August 7, 2007, he surpassed Hank Aaron, who had reached 755. Babe Ruth is the only other player to have hit 700 or more home runs, with 714.
Bonds will probably continue to break records long after he stops playing baseball. There are already talk of his being in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and it's very likely that he will be elected soon after he stops playing.
When you stop counting, what do you get? Zero! That's what kind of luck we were having up until now with all these home runs. It's time for another game called "Who Can Hit More Home Runs Than Bob Gibson?"
Gibson was one of the best pitchers in baseball history, winning two National League MVP awards and finishing with a career ERA of 2.45. In fact, he was also named the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time by The Sporting News in 1999. In 1977, when he first broke into the majors, pitchers didn't allow much home running so they rarely got hurt. But as players started to learn how to beat the speed gun, things changed. By the end of his career, in 1986, runners were getting injured every day on base paths trying to score from home plate.
Contrary to what the film implies (and what the general public believes), Commissioner Ford Frick never stated that Roger Maris' home run record would be marked with an asterisk since it was achieved in 162 games, whereas Babe Ruth's record was established in 154 games. What Frick said was that if Maris were able to maintain his current rate of success, he would break Ruth's record in about 600 games.
However, due to the fact that modern baseball has become more pitcher-friendly over the years, some have suggested that Maris should have been allowed to play in as many as 160 games during the season back then, which would have given him an excellent chance at breaking the record. The most recent research conducted by baseball historians suggests that between the ages of 30 and 39, Maris played in 161 games per year on average, which is very close to the number of games that was permitted back then.
Moreover, there are two other major factors that need to be taken into consideration when talking about Maris' record: one, the ball used by Maris had less leather on it than the ball used today by the New York Yankees; two, there was no protective cup in baseball back then. If you add up all these factors, it can be concluded that there is a good chance that Maris could have broken the record even without playing any more games.
Roger Maris of the New York Yankees became the first major-league baseball player to smash more than 60 home runs in a single season on October 1, 1961. Babe Ruth established the mark in 1927; Maris and teammate Mickey Mantle spent 1961 attempting to break it. The last hitter to hit 70 homers was Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox, who accomplished this feat in 2004.
Maris's record has been surpassed many times since his death in 2001 at the age of 61 due to cancer. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants broke the record with 73 homers in 2007, and he has since been accused by federal prosecutors of using steroids and human growth hormone during his career. He has not been convicted of any crime, but he has been suspended by Major League Baseball for three years beginning in 2009 after he refused to give up HGH during an investigation into its use in baseball.
In 2012, Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays hit 69 homers, making him the second player this year to break the mark. The only other person to do so before this year was Manny Ramirez, and he did it in 2004. No one else is going to break the record this year or in future years because someone is always going to be right behind them with a better way about taking balls out of the park.