Thursday, June 30, 2011

Maris's march to 61 came through Minnesota

Maris and Killebrew talk around the batting cage.
This season marks the 51st anniversary of a record that many refused to think would ever be broken. In the summer of 1961, Roger Maris chased down the immortal Babe Ruth and became the new homerun king on the final day of the regular season. The season that surrounded the homerun chase was full of stress and anxiety for the man that called North Dakota home.

The first month of the season was not a good one for Maris in the homerun department. He only managed to hit one over the fences during the month of April. A trip to Minnesota at the beginning of May would help to start Maris's push toward the homerun mark that would stand until 1998. He would only hit one homerun during the season at Metropolitan Stadium but the Twins would be fall victim to Maris's swing at Yankee Stadium.

Here is a look at each homerun the Twins allowed to Maris during his run at 61 in '61:

Homerun #2
Date: 5-3-1961
Pitcher: Pedro Ramos
Location: Metropolitan Stadium
Score: Ahead 4-1
Runners on: 1st and 3rd

Homerun #16
Date: 6-6-1961
Pitcher: Ed Palmquist
Location: Yankee Stadium
Score: Ahead 3-0
Runners on: 1st and 2nd

Homerun #17
Date: 6-7-1961
Pitcher: Pedro Ramos
Location: Yankee Stadium
Score: Behind 0-1
Runners on: 1st and 2nd

Homerun #41
Date: 8-4-1961
Pitcher: Camilo Pascual
Location: Yankee Stadium
Score: Tied 0-0
Runners on: 1st and 3rd

Only the Orioles allowed less homeruns to Maris during the 1961 season than the Twins. Pitchers from the Twins were able to hold Maris to the lowest BA (.169) of any opponent during his MVP campaign. This was almost .100 points lower than his BA for the entire season. Not bad for the team that had just relocated to Minnesota from Washington before the season began.

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