61* HOME RUNS
In 23 years of reading SI, I have never seen a story that was more deserved than the one on Roger Maris (The Record Almost Broke Him, June 20). Wherever you are, Roger, all true baseball fans will forever love you for what you did, for your determination and, most of all, for your class.
Rick Telander's article was the story I've been waiting to read since Roger left baseball in 1968.
If Maris must live with an asterisk next to his 61 home runs, then Henry Aaron should also endure one next to his 715th home run. He had many more at bats than the Babe.
PHILIP H. BROOKS
Would the Babe have voted "nay" to Roger Maris being admitted to the Hall of Fame?
Maris was a quality baseball player in every respect. During his years with the Yankees he was perhaps the best rightfielder in baseball. He could do it all; his range and arm were unexcelled.
Unfortunately, because of a bad press, this deserving athlete will remain outside the Hall of Fame. Nevertheless, he ranks among the alltime greats of baseball.
Taking nothing away from Maris' 1968 Cardinals, a great ball club, I have to say that as a devoted Detroit Tiger fan I cringed when I read Telander's reference to "the 1968 World Champion Cardinals." The Tigers defeated the Cardinals in seven games that year, Mickey Lolich winning three of them.
?The Cardinals won the Series in 1967, beating the Red Sox in seven games.—ED.
Who but SPORTS ILLUSTRATED could have planned it better? Not only a great article on Roger Maris, but also the picture of his historic swing and home run on pages 60 & 61!
If anything ever convinces Roger that we want him back for Old Timers' Day at Yankee Stadium, it will be your story. I have been to two such days in recent years and have no special desire to return for another in the near future. I have seen the tremendous and deserved ovations for Mantle and DiMaggio. But Maris deserves one, too. After all, his is still the greatest feat most present-day baseball fans have ever witnessed.