Roger Maris (Roger Eugene Maras)
BiographyHibbing, Minnesota, USA
Without a doubt the most famous baseball player ever to come out of North Dakota, Maris was a talent who was judged unfairly throughout his career because of one glorious season. He came up in the pros with the Cleveland Indians, and was soon dealt to the Kansas City Athletics, but it was his third team, the greatest of them all, the New York Yankees, where he would find fame, infamy and controversy. Read more... League Most Valuable Player award in 1960, and he was arguably the best right fielder in New York Yankee history, so he was far from a one-year wonder. In 1961 when both he and his more popular teammate Mickey Mantle made the assault on the Babe's record, fans (and Yankee management) preferred Mantle to the reserved Maris to break the mark. When injuries prevented Mantle from reaching the record, Maris did so with the weight of not only the acerbic New York media on him, but the nation as well. Although the media coverage nearly drove him to a nervous breakdown, Maris did tie and break the mark, however was unfairly maligned with an asterisk besides his record because he had taken eight more games to break Ruth's record. This was the decree of then baseball Commissioner Ford Frick, who was Ruth's ghostwriter and one of his best friends. Maris would never really recover from the media onslaught after his record as injuries and perhaps the pressure from the media and fans took a toll on him. He finished his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, and as a regular helped them to a world championship and two National League pennants in the late 1960s. It would take years for Maris to get his due from the press and the fans, and fortunately for him, it happened before he died of cancer in 1985.