I read earlier tonight on LoHud that the Yankees will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Maris’ record-breaking 61st home run on Friday night before the game against the Red Sox.
I was a kid when it happened (yes, I’m old) and I had a mad crush on Mickey Mantle. But I loved Maris too and the “M & M Boys” and their home run chase were just about the most exciting phenomenon in New York. I never understood the hostility or the apathy toward Maris. Why couldn’t people love both Mantle and Maris? Why boo Maris? What was that about? Why can’t a team have more than one star? More than one hero? More than one media sensation? Pitting one player against the other seemed so juvenile and silly. I always felt Maris got a raw deal, so I’m glad the organization is honoring him on Friday and bringing in his family members and those of his teammates.
For a look back, here’s a segment of Maris’ Yankeeography. Such a different time, wasn’t it? I can only imagine Maris trying to navigate the ESPN-ization of sports.
Oh, and by the way the Rays beat the Sox again. If the Angels are the Yankees’ thorn, the Rays are certainly the Sox’s tormentor.