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Roger Maris Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: September 10, 1934 in Hibbing, Minnesota
Died: December 14, 1985 in Houston, Texas
Biography | show moreshow less

Baseball Career:
First Game: April 16, 1957; Final Game: September 29, 1968
Bat: Left Throw: Right Height: 6' 0" Weight: 197

Awards and Achievements: 
Named AL Most Valuable Player by Baseball Writers' Association of America (1960 to 1961)
Named Major League Player of the Year by The Sporting News (1961)
Named AL Player of the Year by The Sporting News (1960 to 1961)
Named outfielder on The Sporting News Major League All-Star Team (1960)
Named outfielder on The Sporting News AL All-Star Team (1961)
Won AL Gold Glove as right fielder (1960)

Roger Maris
This article was written by Bill Pruden and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research

With one extraordinary season Roger Maris secured his place in baseball history. And yet his establishment of the major league home run record in 1961 proved to be more of a personal curse than a professional triumph. It also overshadowed, indeed overwhelmed, the totality of a career characterized at least as much by his consistent and important contributions to a string of League and World Championship teams--in both leagues throughout the 1960s--as by any single slugging accomplishment.

The son of immigrants, the future home run king was born Roger Eugene Maras (the family name--or at least his side--was later changed to Maris, a change that may have resulted from family tension) on September 10, 1934, in Hibbing, Minnesota. The family moved to North Dakota when Maris was five, and he graduated from Bishop Shanley High School in Fargo. There he was an athletic legend, once returning four kick-offs for touchdowns in a single game, a feat that remains a national record. Indeed, Maris’s football exploits earned him a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma, but quickly realizing that college life was not for him, he turned his full attention to baseball, where he would make an indelible mark.

An American Legion star whose strong all-around play attracted the attention of many scouts, Maris began his professional career in the Cleveland Indians organization, being first assigned to their Fargo-Morehead club in the Northern League in 1953. Achieving much early success, he moved up the ladder the next year to the Keokuk (Iowa) Kernels, where he quickly demonstrated his all-around talent, tying an Three-I League single season record for put-outs by an outfielder in 1954, while hitting .303 and crushing seventy-eight home runs from 1953-56. Keokuk was also the place where Maris, who in his early years viewed himself as a contact hitter, discovered his power. His manager Jo Jo White taught him to pull the ball, thus unleashing what would prove to be a history-making force. But first that power helped lead the Indianapolis Indians to the 1956 Junior World Series title.

Film Credits | show moreshow less

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