Baseball’s Roger Maris: the slugger who surpassed the Babe

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It was 50 years ago, on Oct. 1, that Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home run mark by hitting his record-breaking 61st home run on the 1961 season’s final game. Only 23,154 witnessed the the solo shot in Yankee Stadium. Maris is surely the least known of baseball’s greatest sluggers. Test your own Maris knowledge with this quiz.

Growing up on Minnesota’s Iron Range in Hibbing, Roger and his brother excelled in what winter sport?

Sled dog racing


Ice hockey


Ski jumping


Ice sailing


What announcement did Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick famously make when it appeared that Maris might break Babe Ruth’s single-season home record?

Frick said any home run record achieved after 154 games of the season would bear a “distinctive mark.


Frick said he hoped Ruth’s record would never be broken.


Frick declared that Maris would have to undergo drug tests.


Frick questioned whether Maris was using legal bats.


Which pitcher became a historic footnote by giving up Maris’s record-breaking 61st home run?

Hoyt Wilhelm


Whitey Ford


Tracy Stallard


Mudcat Grant


Why did Maris refuse to accept the 61st home run ball when truck driver Sal Durante, who caught it, attempted to give the ball to him after the game?

Maris thought it was a fake.


Maris wanted it to go instead to the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Maris felt Durante could sell the ball and make some needed money.


Maris didn’t attach any sentimental value to the ball.


In 1962, Maris joined teammates Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra in playing themselves in the movie “That Touch of Mink,” one of that year’s best comedies. Who were the film’s stars?

Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick


Doris Day and Cary Grant


Katharine Hepburn and Gregory Peck


Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison


After playing for the Yankees, what team did Maris end his career with?

Detroit Tigers


Cleveland Indians


Philadelphia Phillies


St. Louis Cardinals


Maris was never elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame during his 15 years of eligibility. What’s the closest he ever came to receiving the required 75 percent of ballots?

42 percent


51 percent


64 percent


73 percent


Which one of the following is not among Maris’s accomplishments?

Gold Glove winner


League batting championship


All-Star selection


League MVP


Although Maris was never enshrined in the Hall of Fame, a museum is dedicated to him in a shopping mall in the city where he last lived. What city is it?

New York


Kansas City, Mo.


Fargo, N.D.


Santa Fe, N.M.


How many home runs per season did Maris average during his 12-year big-league career?

Although Maris enjoyed the spectacular 61-home run season in 1961, he never hit more than 39 in any other season, and wound up averaging 22.9 homers per year during his 12 big-league seasons.