Friday, February 5, 2010

Roger Maris is Still the Home Run King

Mickey Mantle, Doris Day, Cary Grant, and Roger Maris

I can't say it enough, and now, someone is helping me say it:
A North Dakota billboard company has erected a pair of signs in Fargo honoring local hero Roger Maris, whose record 61 home runs in 1961 have long been clouded with an asterisk.

Because he clubbed the homers in more games than Babe Ruth's record 60, the baseball Hall of Fame has never recognized his feat, much less admitted him to Cooperstown.

And the "61 in '61" (his epitaph in a Fargo cemetery) accomplishment was eclipsed in 1998 when McGwire hit 70 dingers.

Owners of Newman Outdoor Advertising decided to rectify what they see as a historical disservice to Maris, a Hibbing native who died in 1985.

"He's our boy -- Fargo's golden boy," said company executive Russ Newman, who got to know Maris in the early 1980s "and became really enamored of him. He was such a gentleman."

The billboards feature a picture of Maris during his days as a New York Yankee and the slogan, "Fargo's Maris 'Legitimate' Home Run King."

In a word, yes. Yes, he is.

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