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Pursuit of No. 60: The Ordeal of Roger Maris
Roger Kahn
September 26, 1994
This 1961 SI Classic recalls how the Yankee slugger endured the relentless pressure—on and off the field—of chasing Babe Ruth's home run record
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September 26, 1994

Pursuit Of No. 60: The Ordeal Of Roger Maris

This 1961 SI Classic recalls how the Yankee slugger endured the relentless pressure—on and off the field—of chasing Babe Ruth's home run record

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I don't have a favorite female singer."

"Well," the reporter said, "would it be all right if I wrote Doris Day?"

"How could you write Doris Day when I tell you I don't have a favorite?" Maris said, mystified by the ways of some journalists.

In Detroit after Maris hit his 57th home run off the facade of the roof in right centerfield, Al Kaline picked up the ball and threw it toward the Yankee dugout.

"Wasn't that nice of Kaline?" a reporter asked.

"Anybody would have done it," Maris said. "It was nice of Kaline, but any ballplayer would have done it."

In Chicago someone asked if he really wanted to break Ruth's record. "Damn right," Maris said, neglecting to pay the customary fealty to the Babe.

"What I mean is." the reporter said, "Ruth was a great man."

"Maybe I'm not a great man," Maris said, "but I damn well want to break the record."

Later Rogers Hornsby suggested a pitching pattern to stop Maris. "Throw the first two inside and make him foul them," Hornsby said, "then conic outside so he can't pull. It would be a shame if Ruth's record got broken by a .270 hitter."

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