Roger Maris is commemorated with a plaque (left) in Monument Park, but Mickey Mantle's plaque (right) was installed atop a monument after his death in 1995. Sal Durante, the man who caught Maris' 61st home run ball, asked to give it back to him. However, since Maris had been killed by a drunk driver two days earlier, the family didn't want the ball in their possession any longer than necessary.
So, in 1973, they gave permission for Durante to install the ball and its plaque at Yankee Stadium where it remains today.
Mickey Mantle's family did not ask to have his body removed from the cemetery after he died in 1995. So, his wife, children, and parents are all buried together in Arlington National Cemetery.
As for other players who had 60 or more homers: Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire both hit 70, but they were elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame on their first try. They weren't eligible until 10 years had passed since their last season. (The rules were changed in 2015 to allow for an early election if someone is voted in by 95% of the vote or better.)
Sam Jones is the only player who has hit 60 homers while earning a place on his team's All-Time roster. He did this when he played for the New York Yankees in 1957.
Durante, Sal In 2011, Sal Durante and Rosemarie were welcomed back to Yankee Stadium to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that memorable 1961 season. The Durantes were also with Frank Prudente, a 17-year-old batboy at the time Maris hit home run No. 61. They talked about the events that impacted Sal Durante's life. After the interview, they signed some baseballs that had been saved from former Yankees players who had no chance of catching Maris in the last game of the 1961 season.
Prudente is now 93 years old and lives in Tampa, Florida. He remembers well his days as a batboy at Yankee Stadium. When he was invited to sign baseballs from former Yankees players, he said he didn't want any part of it because he knew they would be destroyed after signing them. But his mother insisted, so he signed one ball each for himself, her, and then the family dog. Today, all three balls are in a vault at a bank in Tampa.
The family dog was named Mickey Mouse. Now Mickey is buried next to them in Arlington Cemetery.
Durante played first base on June 13, 1961. The Yankees lost 1-0 to the Boston Red Sox. That night, he and his wife went to a party at the home of a friend where they met many people who would play a role in their future. After the party, they got an early morning call that their son was being taken to the hospital in Bronxville, New York.
Roger Maris, who was both despised and admired for hitting 61 home runs in 1961, breaking Babe Ruth's 1927 mark of 60 in a season, died of cancer Saturday in Houston. He was 51. Maris was diagnosed with lymphoma, a kind of cancer that targets the lymph nodes, in November 1983. During his final months, he fought hard against the illness but lost that battle on January 13, 1984.
Even though he lost his fight with cancer, Maris' spirit remained strong until just a few days before he passed away. His family said in their statement that he went peacefully without suffering any pain.
Maris finished the 1981 season with 58 home runs, becoming only the second player in history (after Ruth) to hit over 50 homers while other players wore shoes with spikes at the time of the season. The other player known as "Spikes" is Jeff Bagwell who has 69 home runs during his career.
After his record-breaking season, many people believed that Maris would continue his dominance for several more years. However, in 1982, he had only 44 home runs while batting.289. In 1983, his last full year, he only hit 22 bombs while batting.286. Some people say this shows that playing baseball after you have cancer hurts your ability to produce power numbers like it used to.
The New York Yankees released a statement saying that Maris had "a rare courage and strength of character that inspired people throughout baseball and the world."
Maris hit his 60th home run on August 8, 1961, against Jim Coates of the Cincinnati Reds. The ball landed in the second deck in right field at Crosley Field, making it the highest-ever homer by a Yankee until it was surpassed by Aaron Judge in 2017. Maris finished the season with 61 homers, but it wasn't enough to win the MVP award from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The winner was Tony Lazzeri of the New York Yankees, who had 57 hits in 1987.
In 1962, Maris set the single-season home run record again with 62 blasts, this time beating out Mickey Mantle's 60 homers. But he still couldn't beat out Yogi Berra for the MVP award that year. Berra won his third straight MVP award thanks in large part to his leadership during the Yankees' championship season.
In 1963, Maris fell short yet again as the Yankees lost to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.
Roger Maris, born September 10, 1934 in Hibbing, Minnesota, and died December 14, 1985 in Houston, Texas, was a professional baseball player whose one-season total of 61 home runs (1961) remained the best recorded in the major leagues until 1998. The only other player to hit more than 60 homers in a single season was Babe Ruth, who is considered by many to be the greatest hitter in MLB history.
He played first base for the New York Yankees in part of that season and made an immediate impact by hitting seven homers during his first ten games. The last six of those seven blasts came in a row, leading some observers to label him "The Human Bat". He finished with 62 homers, won the American League Triple Crown with 3111 hits, and earned a place in baseball history as the only man to hit over 50 homers in each of the two decades from 1960 through 1990.
After his one-year career, he served as the manager of the Yankees from 1964 to 1965. Then, from 1973 to 1974, he worked as a coach for the Yankees. He also managed the Vancouver Canadians in 1971 and 1972. The most memorable moment of his managerial career may have been when he led the Yankees to victory in Game 7 of the 1961 World Series against Los Angeles by hitting for the cycle. This remains today as the only time has ever happened in World Series history.