33¢ Roger Maris, 61 in ‘61
Celebrate the Century – 1960s
Issue Date: September 17, 1999
City: Green Bay, WI
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed, engraved
In 1927, Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in a single season as a New York Yankee. That phenomenal record seemed unreachable for 34 years, until October 1, 1961, the final day of that year’s baseball season. On that day, Roger Maris, also a Yankee, hit his 61st home run.
Roger Maris (1934-1985) played for the Cleveland and Kansas City teams before being traded to the Yankees in 1959. In his first season as a Yankee, Maris led the league in runs-batted-in with 112, and was second in home runs with 39 (one behind Mantle). Maris also won the Gold Glove Award, and was named the American League’s most valuable player. But the accomplishment for which he is most remembered happened in 1961.
Maris and Mantle took turns leading the league in homers that season. By August, Maris was four ahead. An injury in September put Mantle out of the race.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard faced Maris in the fourth inning. When Maris connected on the third pitch, the stadium fell silent as the ball raced for the stands. When the ball hit with a thump about ten rows up in the seats, the crowd let out a roar. The baseball was caught by a fan and returned to Maris. The ball is now on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.