Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Place In Cooperstown - Roger Maris

Here is a paper I wrote for my English Comp. class last month.  It was easy to pick the subject and I was proud to write something about a fellow North Dakotan.  I need to add to the paper to make it a really strong case, but was restricted to 1000 words max.  I’ll be sure to post the update when it is done.
I hope you enjoy it.

In December 2014, the “Golden Era” committee for the Baseball Hall of Fame will meet, providing another opportunity for it to correct what has been wrong in the Hall of Fame for the past 43 years: the election of Roger Maris. In his 12 years in baseball, Roger played in 7 All Star Games, 7 World Series, won 1 Gold Glove, and became the single season Home Run King, surpassing Babe Ruth, a record that stood for 37 years and some say still stands today. Through Roger’s hard work and dedication to the game he put up stats that match others in the Hall of Fame, yet he is still not enshrined in Cooperstown, NY. This paper will break down two simple reasons why he should be voted into the Hall of Fame at the earliest possible chance, this December.

The lore of baseball is very much about the stories that come from it and the history that is re-lived by fans every April to October. Yet inside those stories are players that are judged by numbers. These numbers often decide how a player will sit upon the baseball shrine we call Cooperstown, “The Baseball Hall of Fame”. Although referred to as the Hall of Fame and not the Hall of Stats, writers often focus on just those stats and too often ignore the parts of the game that cannot be measured or judged by a number on a paper. This is the case for Roger Eugene Maris, who fully deserves his spot in Cooperstown, NY. Using Maris’ baseball lore and his stats, anyone can see exactly why this is so!
Roger Maris came from the hardworking community of Fargo, ND, where he helped his father lay railroad tracks. He was a multi-sport star at Fargo Shanley High School, and according to his official website that is run by his family (, he went on to be a two time Most Valuable Player (1960, 1961), to make seven World Series’ appearances, more than any other player in the 1960’s, be nominated to seven All-Star Games, win one Gold Glove (1960) and become the single season home run king for 37 years, until a historic year in 1998 in which Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battled it out to become the new home run king. (That year, Mark McGwire finished the season with 70 home runs to become the new king of the long ball.)

From 1998 until now, the 61 home run mark has been surpassed six different times by three different people: thrice by Sammy Sosa, twice by Mark McGwire and once by the current home run king Barry Bonds. Each one of these players has been implicated in the steroid era of baseball, which makes Maris’ accomplishment that much greater. His form of steroids was good hard work in the form of railroad ties.

So, take aside the fact that many still consider Roger Maris the legitimate home run king, after it has become well known that everyone to surpass him has been involved in performance enhancing drugs (PED’s). If you were to compare Roger’s stats to some individuals currently in Cooperstown, say, Bill Mazeroski, Phil Rizzuto, or Ray Chalk you would say that either Roger belongs in that group, or that group doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. In fact, Roger matches up or surpasses all these individuals in every category except stolen bases, yet he matches or surpasses each one of them in Runs Scored (R) and Runs Batted In (RBI’s). Knowing baseball is such a team sport, it can easily be realized that Roger was more important to his team than a player that moves from first base (1B) to second base (2B) without putting a run on the board. Roger was a major part of not only scoring runs himself, but using his bat to help his teammates score. But like I said, it’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Stats, and Roger separates himself from every one of these players by being the only player to surpass Babe Ruth, the greatest baseball player of all time, in single season home runs, cleanly.

So what is it that got these individuals into the Hall of Fame and overlooked the single season home run champ? Well, according to the rules laid out on, the official Baseball Hall of Fame website, it was a 75% vote or higher from the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and in Bill Mazeroski’s case it was a 75% vote or higher from the Golden Era Committee members of the voting class. The Golden Era Committee is one of three committees that offer a chance to players that are no longer eligible according to the BBWAA voting laws, usually from not being an active player in the past 20 years. Although Roger was overlooked by the Baseball Writers, The Golden Era Committee has a chance to correct this omission to Cooperstown. This committee meets every three years with the last meeting in December of 2011, which would make this year its next scheduled meeting. It would be another insult to the game of baseball if The Golden Era Committee didn’t do its job and insert a ball player that has the baseball lore and stats, Roger Eugene Maris, into the 2015, Cooperstown, NY Hall of Fame Class.

Statistics generated from


Crossman, M. (2011). When ’61 was about to meet 61. Sporting News, 235(3), 14. Retrieved from

Give Roger Maris place in Hall of Fame. USA Today. Retrieved from

Reilly, R. (2005). Seeing 61 in a New Light. Sports Illustrated, 102(15), 92. Retrieved from

Eastham, C (April 3, 2009) The 10 Least Deserving Baseball Hall of Famers., 4, 7, 10. Retrieved March 13, 2014 from

Eras: Golden., retrieved March 13, 2014 from election/eras-golden

Hall of Fame Batting Register., retrieved March 13, 2014 from

Career Statistics., retrieved March 15, 2014 from

No comments:

Post a Comment