Well hello there everybody! Welcome to This Week In Yankees Baseball. On June 23, 1984, the year before his death, Roger Maris finally received his due respect.
That came with the opening of the Roger Maris Museum, in Fargo North Dakota. Mickey Mantle recalled his longtime friend. “I still see him in my dreams. We lived together, we kidded around a lot, we enjoyed our time out there. Roger was a hell of a player, a Hall of Famer for sure in my book,” Mickey said according to Westacres.com.
At Roger’s request, admission to the museum was free when it opened, and it remains that way today. Visitors enjoy footage of Roger’s 61st home run in 1961. Also on display are the S. Rae Hickok Athlete of the Year Award for 1961, and uniforms that he wore with the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals.
There is also a photo of Maris kneeling in his Yankees uniform. There are replicas of of his Yankee Stadium monument and his 1961 locker. Museum visitors are also treated to an actual Yankee Stadium seat from the era when he played for the Yankees, and a ticket stub from the final game of the 1961 season, when he hit home run number 61. That set the single-season home run record, surpassing Babe Ruth‘s 60.
Maris never sought the limelight. He just wanted to be one of the guys. “Sometimes I wish I never hit those 61 home runs,” he said, also according to Westacres.com. “I want is to be treated like any other player. I never wanted all the hoopla. All I want is to be a good ballplayer, hit 25 or 30 home runs, drive in around a hundred runs, hit .280 and help my club win pennants. I just wanted to be one of the guys, an average player with a good season.”
Like it or not, Maris got the limelight on June 23, 1984. It was a tribute that was long over due, and continues today.