1961 wasn't the first time Roger chased Ruth's record.
Cool -- I didn't remember that!And really, at the time it got little if any attention, because LOTS of players had been on paces like that during the early part of a season.
BTW, the first part of his previous year -- '59 -- was amazing too. Nobody thinks of it any more, because the totals for the whole year are no big deal.But he was leading the league in BATTING AVERAGE in mid-season.(Yes, B.A.) :-)Then he had a couple of medical problems that dragged him down, including that he went 6 for 114 during a stretch.(Yes, 6 for 114.)Which is hard to do. :-)
Did you see the post above yours?
Check out the first half of his '59 season, if you feel like it. And he had similar periods before that too, and after as well.He was superb for stretches in '64, especially early in the year and down the stretch.
1961 was an interesting year. Besides Roger's great season, guys like Norm Cash and Jim Gentile never had seasons approaching their 1961 numbers before or after. Add the years had by guys that easily could repeat big homerun years, like Mantle, Killebrew and Colavito, 1961 was a bit special. Interestingly, these 6 hitters all hit over 40 in the seats and no one in the AL hit over 30 besides them.
Expansion has to be given some credit here and perhaps the addition of 20 or so pitchers that would not have made teams if it were not an expansion year had a bigger effect on left handed pull hitters, as that what Roger, Norm and Jim were, while Mick was a switch hitter and Killer and Rocky were righthanded pull hitters.
Were those 20 extra pitchers mostly right handers without great velocity enabling these lefthanded hitters to hook more shots into the stands? Not sure but Roger always could hook those shorter homers and in 61 he was also able to get around on more fastballs up than in earlier or later years.
Good post, and it's hard to disagree with the principles.BUT....if you look at the list of the pitchers that Maris hit the 61 HR's against, it doesn't look at all like a list of garbage.
The list is on this page:(I'm leaving a space in the addy b/c this site doesn't like links)w ww.baseball-almanac.com/feats/feats12b.shtml
What the hey....For fun, I'll post the list. :-)Just the fact that most old-time fans can RECOGNIZE most of the names says something. I recognize ALL of them, and not because they gave up HR's to Maris. Very strangely, it's actually an EXTREMELY IMPRESSIVE list. Very few of them stunk, most of them were quite good, and a fair number were #1 starter types. (Although of course these guys weren't necessarily at their peak in '61, few if any of the real good pitchers were close to done.)
Paul F oytackPedro RamosEli GrbaPete BurnsideJim PerryGary BellChuck Estrada Gene ConleyCal McLishGene ConleyMike FornielesBilly Muffett Cal McLishBob Shaw Russ Kemmerer Ed PalmquistPedro RamosRay HerbertEli GrbaJohnny JamesJim PerryGary BellDon Mossi Jerry CasaleJim Archer Joe NuxhallNorm BassDave Sisler Pete Burnside Johnny Klippstein Frank Lary Frank Funk Bill MonbouquetteEarly WynnRay HerbertBill MonbouquetteFrank Baumann Don Larsen Russ Kemmerer Warren Hacker Camilo PascualPete BurnsideD ick DonovanBennie DanielsMarty KutynaJuan PizarroBilly PierceBilly PierceJim PerryKen McBride Jerry Walker Frank LaryHank AguirreTom Cheney D ick StigmanMudcat GrantFrank LaryTerry FoxMilt PappasJack FisherTracy Stallard
You know there are some pretty good names on your list but at the same time that list kind of proves my point.
Guys like Grba, Burnside Kemmerer, Palmquist, James, Casale, Daniels and Kutyna were likely guys who would not have been in the majors if not for expansion and Roger hit 12 against these guys.
Then you have better pitchers who were over the hill and perhaps expansion gave them time playing that they would not have gotten otherwise, such as: Conley, Fornieles, Nuxhall and Wynn and that is another 5 home runs.
Subtract those 17 and perhaps add back a bunch because he still would have hit some against other pitchers and it is pretty easy to say that Roger would have had had a great 1961 season even without expansion but his HR total might have been more like 50.
Where I can not find numbers is the interesting thing (interesting to me only probably) that Maris, Cash and Gentile were pretty similar hitters and perhaps the 3 hitters who benifited most by whatever was happening in 1961.
You know, Roger jumps from 39 to 61 and then drops to 33 homeruns and people wonder about that but the most amazing differences to me is that of Norm Cash's batting averages.He goes from 286 to 361 in 1961 and never hits over 280 again in a long career????????????
Those guys were easy!
Pete Burnside? I had his Topps card (in fact I still do b/c I have the complete '58 set) and right now, without taking it out to look at it, I can picture exactly what he looks like on it.But that's irrelevant to what we're talking about. :-)I saw him pitch a lot, and I know that he was a viable pitcher and lasted a long time. I also remember that he was a lefty, which put Rog at a disadvantage.
Norm Bass: another easy one, including because his brother D ick was an NFL player. When Norm came up, he was well known as D ick's younger brother.But that's not real relevant to what we're talking about either. :ha:Anyway I remember that Norm was a decent starter for a short time. Was he decent in '61??[.....goes to check....]ABSOLUTELY. It was actually he only good year. He was a starter and did well.
P.S. Frank Lary was one of many VERY GOOD pitchers on that list.Others:
Pedro RamosJim PerryGary BellChuck EstradaCal McLishBob ShawRay HerbertDon MossiEarly WynnCamilo PascualD ick DonovanJuan PizarroBilly PierceJerry WalkerHank AguirreMudcat GrantMilt Pappas
Those were all excellent starters. You could take the WORST 5 guys and you'd have a pennant-type rotation.