Tuesday, November 15, 2005

61 in '61: Roger Maris Then And Now

Roger Maris was voted the American League MVP for the second time, on this day, November 15, in 1961. That year he hit 61 home runs, breaking Ruth's record on the last day of the season.

Mr. Maris, in the form of a TOPPS baseball card, occupied a hallowed spot in the top drawer of my dresser when I was a wee child in Boise, Idaho. As I recall, his card was second in the deck, behind Mickey Mantle, just ahead of Whitey Ford, Willie Mays, and Al Kaline.

Fast-forward ~40 years: I have had dealings with Roger Maris Jr. over the past couple of years here in Florida. He is a straight-up centered gentleman who enjoys and appreciates Nature, and he is one of those unique family men that finds time to sponsor and coach a kids’ softball team every year. I believe that says a lot about a man’s character.

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