Plaschke: Baseball Should Come Clean For Maris

From Bill Plaschke at The Los Angeles Times on October 2, 2011, with mention of SABR member Andy Strasberg:

On the first full day of the major league playoffs Saturday, a baseball world shrugged.

It was the 50th anniversary of The Shot Forgotten ‘Round The World, a home run that nobody wanted Roger Maris to hit, a home run that nobody seems to remember, a record that has been lost under a pile of syringes and sleaze.

On Oct. 1, 1961, Maris, right fielder for the New York Yankees, hit his 61st home run and broke Babe Ruth‘s 34-year-old season record.

There were barely 23,000 fans in the Yankee Stadium stands. There was barely a buzz on the streets of a city where fans hoped the record would be broken by Maris’ more gregarious teammate Mickey Mantle.


Maris should have been honored and remembered on every field where they played major league baseball this weekend, but the entire extent of a memorial celebration occurred Saturday outside the fence that surrounds the footprint of the demolished old Yankee Stadium.

Andy Strasberg, a former baseball executive who is a close friend of the Maris family, gathered two buddies at the site and pointed his cellphone to the patch of grass that was once right field.

At exactly 2:43 p.m., the time of Maris’ record-setting homer, Strasberg pushed a button on his phone and it played the radio call of Maris’ blast.

“Some people were walking around looking at us, but we’re the only ones who heard it,” Strasberg said.

When he finished, Strasberg phoned Pat Maris, Roger’s widow, and told her of the impromptu service.

“Pat said, ‘Thanks for thinking of me,’ ” Strasberg said. “Can you imagine that? Their family is still thanking somebody for thinking of them?”

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Originally published: October 3, 2011. Last Updated: October 3, 2011.