On October 1, 1961, New York Yankee Roger Maris became the first major-league baseball player to hit more than 60 home runs in a single season, surpassing Babe Ruth. The record was set in 1927 by Babe Ruth, and Maris and his colleague Mickey Mantle spent 1961 attempting to beat it. When they did, it was noted in history books as one of the most exciting seasons in American sports.
In 1998, Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs both hit 70 home runs, but only McGwire's mark stood for long because of steroid abuse. In 2007, Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants broke McGwire's record with 73 homers, and today he is considered by many to be the greatest hitter in baseball history.
Besides being a great hitter, Bonds also set numerous records during his career at the plate. He is credited with hitting 660 balls into play over his career, which is currently the record. In 2001, he had an unprecedented 81 RBIs before the All-Star Break, which is also a record. And then on August 5, 2007, in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Barry Bonds broke Joe DiMaggio's famous 56-game hitting streak with a hit off Jeff Weaver. That makes Bonds the longest-hitting major-league player of all time.
Bonds will likely finish his career with any number of records broken or standing alone after him.
45 home runs or more in a single season
|61||Roger Maris, New York (A.L.)||1961|
|60||Babe Ruth, New York (A.L.)||1927|
|59||Babe Ruth, New York (A.L.)||1921|
|58||Jimmie Foxx, Philadelphia (A.L.)||1932|
Hank Aaron hit the first home run of his major league baseball career on April 23, 1954. Twenty years later, Aaron shattered Babe Ruth's long-standing record of 714 career home runs to become baseball's new home run king.
Aaron's record has since been broken three times: by Barry Bonds in 2007, Mark McGwire in 1998, and Sammy Sosa in 1996. The home run king title is now held by a player who came after Aaron's death in February 2005: Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals.
It is estimated that between the time he broke Ruth's record and the time he died, Aaron hit well over 900 home runs. That makes him not only the most prolific home run hitter of all time, but also the most powerful man in baseball!
After his retirement, Aaron went on to have another great season in 1957, hitting 57 home runs and driving in 100 bases offenselss. But because he finished the season with four games left to play, the Milwaukee Braves didn't give up on him yet. They sent an assistant to watch him hit one final time before leaving for spring training.
The ball that Aaron hit for his last home run was sold at auction for $90,000!
In 1959, the Atlanta Braves moved to Milwaukee where they remain today.
Maris not only set a new Major League record for home runs in a single season, but he also shattered Babe Ruth's unbreakable mark of sixty home runs in his most valuable player season in 1927. There have been books and movies created on that historic baseball season, but Maris has a much larger number of fans: sixty-four! That's because Maris played in all of Boston's games that year and every game of the World Series against the Yankees. The Red Sox were the favorite to win the series, but they lost in seven games.
It was such an exciting season for baseball that it even made the front page of the New York Times. On October 3, 1961, the last day of the regular season, the paper ran this article about Maris' quest to break the record.
In conclusion, Roger Maris hit one more home run than Babe Ruth did in 1927. He is the sole holder of that record today.
Babe Ruth: The single-season record of 60 was held for 34 years until Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in the American League in 1961.
|Team||New York Yankees|
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, with 714 home runs, is the only other player to have hit 700 or more. The history of the home run begins in 1884, when John McGraw's New York Giants played their first game at what was then called National League Park. One out of every four shots taken in Major League Baseball is now a home run.
Before 1884, there were only two types of balls used in American baseball games: a softball and a hardball. The first ball hit into the stands for an out was a hardball (which could be hit for extra bases). But in 1884, a new ball was introduced into play during a game between the New York Metropolitans and Baltimore Orioles. This ball had seams and was manufactured in a factory, not by hand as softballs are today. It was actually made from vulcanized rubber, which has natural leather strips wrapped around it to form its shape. A special bat was required to contact the ball (a "mass-type" bat), but many players simply used a club since they weren't expected to reach very far. In fact, only one homer was hit with this type of bat over the course of the season.