That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Why Aaron Judge will stay a Yankee

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees has lots to smile about. Here is Judge in the Yankees dugout on Wed Oct 5, 2022 in Arlington. The Yankees host the Cleveland Guardians at Yankee Stadium in New York for game 1 of the ALDS Tue Oct 11, 2022 (AP News photo)

Why Aaron Judge will stay a Yankee

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

Aaron Judge will be named the MVP of the American League. He had one of the most remarkable seasons ever for a player in the major leagues. Ending with a new American League record of 62 home runs and without any doubt the most valuable of all players on his team.

Judge was hitting throughout the whole season when his teammates were also hitting early in the season and later when the Yankees struggle to score runs. He was the only Yankee hitting the ball and driving in runs.

Brian Cashman, the Yankee’s General Manager on behalf of the Yankee ownership, offered Judge a 7-year deal worth $213.5 million, prior to the start of the 2022 season. Judge did not swing at it. This past June, the Yankees and Judge agreed to a one year (2022) deal, signed for $19 million just to play this season and avoid arbitration.

Now that Judge established the new AL record, his price has skyrocketed to be much more than the $213 million (peanuts contract) that the Yankees originally offered him. We are looking at minimum of between $300 to $400 million, to start, for his services in a multi-year deal.

There are rumors that some teams will go after Aaron Judge this off season, among those mentioned are the San Francisco Giants. Judge was born in the town of Linden in San Joaquin county, a small town of around 1,700 residents, some 95 miles from San Francisco, a two hour drive.

The Giants haven’t had a real slugger since the days of Barry Bonds, and Judge would be a great improvement for the Giants, or in the middle of other teams lineups.

However, it makes all the sense in the world to expect the Yankees to retain Aaron Judge. The storied franchise now can claim how they got to 62 home runs, after all it was Babe Ruth who originally established the record of 60 in 1927, to be broken by another Yankee, Roger Maris 61 home runs in 1961 and yet to be broken again with another Yankee, this time Aaron Judge, this season 2022 with 62.

All three Yankees! It sounds so good and rhythmic that it could be written, and probably will, into a song. I doubt the Yankees want to break that chain.

The New York Yankees can now offer Aaron Judge the money he wants in order for him to end his career as a Yankee, the only team he has played for. Judge will make the Yankees all the money and then some, to easily give him that great contract, marketing, merchandise, publicity and prestige plus.

The Yankees in my opinion offer Judge a better opportunity to be in a World Series than the San Francisco Giants. Why? Because they are the Yankees! They spend all the money and each and every year they have only one goal, to win the World Series, and they have won 27 of them.

The Yankees won the AL east, and this Tuesday. the 11th will host the Cleveland Guardians, who won the AL Central Division, at Yankee Stadium for the ALDS best of five.

Aaron Judge led the Major Leagues in runs scored with 133 in home runs with 62, runs-batted-in 131, on-base percentage .425, slugging percentage, total gases, led in walks with 111. Was second in the American League in batting average with .311, missing the Triple Crown by six points.

It was the Minnesota Twins Luis Arraez who won the batting crown in the American League with a .316 average. Without Arraez winning the batting title, Aaron Judge would have been the first man to win the Triple Crown since Miguel Cabrera (Detroit) in 2012.

“Pot of Gold awaits Aaron Judge, it’s yet to be determined how much it weighs, but it’s a pot of gold, no doubt about it” -Yankees GM, Brian Cashman.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headlines of the week podcast with Jessica Kwong: Here comes the Judge now AL season home run leader with 62; Broncos Wilson good enough to go under center Sunday; plus more news

History is made with the New York Yankees Aaron Judge connecting with his 62nd home run of 2022 surpassing former Yankee Roger Maris’s old record of 61. The Texas Rangers catcher Sam Huff and plate umpire Randy Rosenberg look on.

On Headline Sports podcast with Jessica:

#1 Jessica, in Texas last night the New York Yankees Aaron Judge launched his 62nd home run of the season against the Texas Rangers making Judge the all time home leader in a season surpassing former Yankees Roger Maris.

#2 Jessica, looks like Russell Wilson quarterback Denver Broncos could get in the starting line up against the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football. Russell had been listed as limited due to a shoulder injury but reports say that Russell could play the whole game.

#3 Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver who had made racists comments and was suspended by the NBA for the rest of the season and fined $10 million had announced that the team is up for sale which is expected to sell for an all time price for an NBA team.

#4 Jessica, the Atlanta Braves clinched on Tuesday night defeating the Florida Marlins 2-1 at LoanDepot Park in Miami. The New York Mets who had trailed the Braves by just a game tried to catch up but just ran out of games and ran out of time.

#5 Jessica, big loss for the San Francisco 49ers left tackle Colton McKivitz is out for two months with a knee injury This comes after left tackle Trent Williams who went down with a right ankle sprain.

Join Jessica for Headline Sports podcast Wednesday nights at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Roger Maris Jr. Says Barry Bonds Home run record is Illegitimate

Mother and child reunion: New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge celebrates home run number 61 with mother Patty at Rogers Centre in Toronto on Wed Sep 28, 2022 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Judge becomes tied for the American League single season lead with Yankee Roger Maris Sr (AP News photo)

Roger Maris Jr. Says Barry Bonds Home run record is Illegitimate

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

Roger Maris Jr. was in attendance in Toronto on Thursday, September 28, when Yankee slugger Aaron Judge hit home run No.61 to tie his father Roger Maris who established the Home run record in the American League hitting 61 in 1961. This is what Roger Maris Jr. told the Associated Press – “He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Maris said after Judge hit his 61st on Wednesday night to match Roger Maris’ record-setting total with the Yankees in 1961. I mean, that's really who he is if he hits 62, and I think that's what needs to happen. I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.'' Asked Wednesday whether he considers McGwire and Bonds home run totals to be illegitimate, Maris answered yes.I do,'' he said.I think most people do.” What Mr.Maris Jr said is much like what I wrote during my last article.

In 1999 St Louis Cardinals Mark McGwire hit 65 while Sammy Sosa had three seasons of over 60 home runs, from 1998 to 2001 hitting, 66, 64, 63. While McGwire admitted to using steroids, Sosa and Bond maintained they did not use it knowingly. It wasn’t until 2004 that Major League Baseball began testing for PED’s/drugs with penalties that same year.

The records and history are there for everybody to see, especially now in this age of high technology when all the information you can get in your cell phone within seconds. That was not the case in 1961, when nobody doubted if Roger Maris’s record was legitimate or not.

How much have times changed in baseball? Consider this, the biggest “controversy” in 1961 was when Roger Maris hit 61 home runs to break Babe Ruth’s 1927 record of 60. The argument was: While Ruth hit 60 home runs in the 1927 season that was 154 games long, Maris hit 61 but when the season was 162 games long.

Will Major League Baseball do something to “adjust” the situation, of who is the real holder of the one-season home run record? Probably not. I believe MLB is leaving this controversy to the record books, to history, to votes in the Hall of Fame and many asterisks to follow.

Aaron Judge needs one more home run to be the undisputed home run king for one season and he will have seven (7) more games left to do it. And then, there will be another discussion. I think.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s lead play by play Spanish announcer on flagship station on LeGrande 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

From Yankee Blue to Cardinal Red — Roger Maris Gets New Leaf on Baseball Life feature story by Daniel Dullum

Former New York Yankee Roger Maris October 1, 1961 steps in before launching his 61st home run of the 1961 season breaking the single season home run mark held by Babe Ruth since 1927 (WPIX TV 10 New York still)

By Daniel Dullum

Understandably, the seven seasons Roger Maris spent in New York as a Yankee outfielder are the most documented of his 12-year major league baseball career. Breaking a sacred home run record while playing for one of the legendary dynasties of professional sports will do that.

The two seasons Maris spent in St. Louis (1967–68) often seem like a footnote to his more celebrated days in Yankee pinstripes. With the Cardinals, there were no records, no major awards, and the big home run days were behind him.

As it turned out, that suited Maris fine. In St. Louis, he attained personal and professional tranquility, along with two more trips to the World Series.

Maris, who was contemplating retirement after the 1966 season, found a refuge of sorts when the Yankees dealt him to the Cardinals. In the April 29, 1967, edition of The Sporting News, Maris told reporter Neal Russo, “This is a new league, a new park and a new season. Maybe I’ll destroy that home run image. I’m really just a line drive hitter and all I want are base hits.

“I would like to be liked rather than disliked. Just wearing a different uniform seems to have made some difference.”

In his first homestand as a Cardinal, Maris went 8-for-17 (.471) with two doubles and a triple, and the Fargo, N.D., native didn’t have to wait long to find out what kind of welcome he would receive in St. Louis. In his first days as a National Leaguer, the Cardinal faithful treated him to one rousing ovation after another during the season-opening series at Busch Stadium against San Francisco — a far cry from his tumultuous final days in New York.

In his Cardinals debut on April 11, 1967, Maris went 2-for-5 against Giants ace Juan Marichal with a bunt single and a double. Maris told Russo, “The reception was far beyond my expectations. … It was nice to hear a reaction like that for a change. It’s been a long time. I couldn’t believe it was for real.”

Occasionally, a trade can provide a player with a new lease on life. And, for the first time in years, Roger Maris was enjoying baseball.

How Maris wound up in the National League is a story in itself.

Beginning with the successful pursuit of Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in 1961, baseball in a Yankee uniform had evolved into a high-stress occupation for Maris. From 1962 through 1964, he returned to a level of productivity that was actually much closer to his norm. However, many critics and fans felt otherwise. The criticism stung.

In 1965, a serious knee injury and a broken hand kept Maris out of the lineup for all but 46 games. His 1966 season wasn’t much better, as the hand injury permanently robbed him of any consistent home run power. For that matter, things weren’t going well for the Yankees, either.

By the end of the 1966 season, two years had passed since the Yanks appeared in the World Series, but for the team and its fans, that stretch seemed much longer. A combination of age, injuries, abrupt managerial changes and a surprisingly thin farm system brought hard times to the Bronx Bombers. New York’s sixth-place finish in 1965 (its lowest since 1925) was merely a precursor to further woes.

The slide that began in 1965 reached its lowest ebb when the once-proud Yankees finished dead-last (10th place) in 1966, something that hadn’t happened since 1912 — their final season known as the Highlanders. For an organization that played in all but two World Series between 1949 and 1964, this was uncharted territory.

CBS, which purchased the Yankees in 1964, was not amused, as the team’s descent was a factor in the demise of the network’s “Yankee Game of the Week” for the team’s 1965 Saturday home games. Changes were on the way.

Toward the end of the 1966 season, Michael Burke, a CBS career man, took over as team president. One of his first moves was the fire Hall of Fame broadcaster Red Barber. No one was sure exactly how much Red had to do with the Yankees losing 89 games, but an incident on September 22 may have contributed to Burke’s decision. That was the day 413 fans showed up at Yankee Stadium, and Barber insisted that the TV cameras pan the rows of empty seats.

More changes came during the off season. Lee MacPhail took over as general manager, ex-GM Ralph Houk returned to managing full time, centerfielder Mickey Mantle and first baseman Joe Pepitone swapped positions, third baseman Clete Boyer was traded to Atlanta, second baseman Bobby Richardson retired, as did pitching ace Whitey Ford two months into the 1967 season. Most of Maris’ teammates from the World Series days were long gone.

During that same period, things weren’t quite as bad for the Cardinals, who, after beating the Yankees 4-games-to-3 in the 1964 Series, were stuck in the middle of the National League pack in 1965 and 1966 while trying to rebuild. Ken Boyer, Clete’s older brother and the 1964 NL Most Valuable Player, was sent to the New York Mets for third baseman Charley Smith and Al Jackson — a tough left-hander who was the Mets’ winningest pitcher in their early expansion days.

Smith led the Metropolitans with 20 home runs in 1964 and hit 16 more in 1965, yet neither Smith, Phil Gagliano, Ed Spezio or Jerry Buchek could make fans forget the popular, but declining, Ken Boyer. Their collective lack of offensive output made third base a trouble spot the Cardinals needed to address.

Seeking a solution, one part of the equation had Mike Shannon moving from right field to third base. The other was a proposed deal prepared by General Manager Bob Howsam that would send pitchers Nelson Briles and Steve Carlton, and outfielders Alex Johnson and Bobby Tolan to the Chicago Cubs for All-Star outfielder Billy Williams.

St. Louis sportswriter Bob Broeg explained how the Cardinals chose to solve their dilemma in his article “Musial and Schoendienst: How a Friendship Built a Winner” from the December 1967 issue of Sport:

“As an alternative, Mark Eagleton, a St. Louis lawyer on the ballclub’s board of directors, suggested that if the Cardinals really needed an outfielder, why not try to get one without giving up so much strength? Roger Maris for example.

“Howsam agreed and sent Charley Smith to the Yankees for Maris, making Mike Shannon’s successful conversion almost imperative.”

That was the deal the Yanks and Cardinals agreed to on December 8, 1966 — Maris for Smith, straight up. It turned out the be Howsam’s last good deed before leaving St. Louis for a similar position with the Cincinnati Reds.

Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray wrote of the transaction in a March 31, 1967, commentary: “The Yankees didn’t really trade him, they uncaged him … The Yankees had so little of his affection left they were glad enough to get a player named ‘Smith,’ if that’s his real name, for him. Some say they didn’t even ask the fellow’s first name.”

In an April 24, 1967, feature for Sports Illustrated, William Leggett wrote: “After the trade was announced few defended him, but the late Johnny Keane, the deposed manager of the Yankees, was one. ‘I liked Roger Maris,’ Keane said the day after the trade. ‘He is a high-class man who has gone through a lot of injuries. If the Cardinals can get him interested in playing baseball again and he can stay healthy, they will have a heck of a good player — one who can make them a strong team.’”

For the record, Smith never recaptured his power stroke with the Yankees, hitting nine home runs in 1967 and one in 1968 before a knee injury enabled (future Hall of Fame manager) Bobby Cox to beat him out of the third base job. Smith — who also saw duty with the Dodgers, White Sox and Phillies — later drifted on to San Francisco, who swapped him to the Chicago Cubs during spring training in 1969. After two hitless at-bats for the Cubs, he was out of baseball for good following a nondescript Triple-A stint with Tacoma.

Adding further salt to the Yankees’ third base wound, Clete Boyer took advantage of Fulton County Stadium’s cozy fences and clubbed 26 home runs and 96 RBIs in his first season with the Braves.

Leggett addressed the on-field doubts that surrounded the Cardinals in the spring of 1967 in the October 7, 1968 edition of Sports Illustrated:

“With the addition of Roger Maris in 1967, St. Louis went to spring training as a team with an outside chance to win the pennant. The questions were: Could (Red) Schoendienst get the most out of Maris and a shaky pitching staff? What would he do for a third baseman?

“To answer the last first, Schoendienst went to work converting Mike Shannon, an excellent outfielder. There were days when Shannon’s chest was black and blue from the balls that bounced off of it and Shoendienst’s hands swollen from hitting them to him. But in the end, Shannon was a third baseman.”

When Maris joined the Cardinals, his new teammates were understandably curious about the team’s newest acquisition. Their questions, and doubts, were answered quickly.

Left-hander Steve Carlton, a rising star in the Cardinals’ rotation, recalled, “Coming from New York, he had that air of professionalism. We were a bunch of guys playing baseball out in St. Louis, we were the Midwest guys, and we didn’t seem to have that air of sophistication that Roger seemed to bring.

“He was a great leader by example, a good man, and everyone was a friend to Roger on the Cardinals. He was a very good fielder, fundamentally very sound with a really good, above-average arm. He did everything, a very well rounded ballplayer.”

Carlton said that when Maris came to the Cardinals to play the right field position previously occupied by Shannon, the two “became best friends.”

“When Roger came to the team, he was playing right field so Mike Shannon had to move over to third base and learn how to play it; he’d never been an infielder in his life. So here’s Shannon at third base, taking a lot of balls off his chest and learning how to play that position. But Mike was a gutsy kind of a guy, hard-nosed, and he learned how to play it pretty well.”

Shannon said, “We became such good friends when he came over from the Yankees. I got some security by moving to third, but more importantly, I got to meet a fellow that became one of my closest friends, and my dearest friends, and that’s Roger Maris.

“The friendship that developed between us, I’ll remember and hold dear to my heart.”

Among other angles of his TSN report on the Cards’ new rightfielder, Russo addressed what he called “the old tug-of-war’ between Maris and the New York media, saying the writers still insisted that “Maris’ bad attitude was the cause of his difficulties. Rog contends it was the writers’ attitude that caused all the trouble that led to ‘six years of misery.’”

Relief pitcher Wayne Granger, who spent his rookie season with the Cardinals in 1968, was called up in May and found himself wanting to separate truth from fiction when it came to Maris.

“When he played for the Yankees, Roger had the reputation of being a rebel rouser and I thought that about him over the years before I joined up with him in St. Louis,” Granger said. “When I met him, I said, ‘You’re not Roger Maris — you’re too nice of a guy!’ He’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.”

From the book “From Ghetto to Glory — The Bob Gibson Story,” Gibson wrote (with Phil Pepe):

“We all read and heard so much about him. Was he really the brooding, sullen, unapproachable ogre he was made out to be? … Now we would see for ourselves just what kind of monster he was.

“I guess I had a preconceived idea of what he would be like from all the derogatory things I read about him. I expected him to be snobbish. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

“From my personal firsthand experience, I can only say that Roger Maris is one hell of a guy, easy to get along with and a real team player. I think he’s great. He was mistreated and abused so badly he became bitter, but he was not at like that with us. I don’t think he ever got a fair shake from the press when he was in New York.”

Curt Flood was the centerfielder during Maris’ stay in St. Louis. In 1972, Flood wrote (with Richard Carter) “The Way It Is,” a nonfiction work that explained his history-making challenge of the reserve clause, along with his observations of the business of baseball.

Flood said of Maris: “Instead of being lionized (for the home run record), he was represented to the public as an egocentric grouch. Anyone with the dimmest curiosity or sensitivity might have been able to understand Roger’s frame of mind during that pressure cooker of a year. But those qualities were in short supply, and Rog came off with an almost uniformly bad press.

“His problem had been one of trying to maintain personal equilibrium — including his powers of athletic concentration — while being hounded by reporters and fans. To rebuff one reporter was enough to launch chain reactions of outrage. To accommodate all fans and all reporters was physically and mentally impossible. … I think (after hitting 61 homers) he was psychologically incapable of exposing himself to another ride on that particular merry-go-round.

“We were apprehensive about him when he joined us in 1967. Would he fit in? He turned out to be a great guy. He loved the Cardinal atmosphere. He joined our revels with great enthusiasm and although he was a hard-used 33 years old, hampered by the after-effects of many injuries, he was as instrumental as anyone in our victories in 1967 and 1968.”

Russo observed in TSN, “The once glum-faced Maris had a happy spring training. He meshed well with his new teammates, joining them in barbecues and chatting and joking often with them at the club’s motel.”

Dick Sisler, the Cardinals’ hitting coach, told Russo, “I’ve found that a lot of the things written about Roger just don’t hold water. I read that he was a loner and wouldn’t cooperate. But I often see him with the other players and signing autographs politely, no matter where he is.

“People should know that he really is very friendly and warm. He showed great desire to get into shape and have a good year. I think he’ll do it on desire alone.”

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst concurred with Sisler, “Rog worked hard in Florida in every way. After playing five or six innings, he’d do a lot of hard running and do his pickups. He got into good shape and he was swinging the bat pretty well.”

Leggett reported in the April 24, 1967, edition of Sports Illustrated that when Maris arrived in St. Petersburg, Florida, for spring training, Schoendienst told his new right-fielder, “We know that you are a pro and we know what you can do, because you’ve already proved it. Just get yourself in shape and don’t worry about the hits in the spring. Get in shape. We’ve got a heck of a bunch of guys on this team, and they’ll make it easier for you. Don’t throw hard in the outfield. We’ll leave it up to you, but we want you in the best shape you can get yourself in.”

In a not-so-thinly veiled swipe at the Yankees’ CBS ownership, Maris told Russo in TSN, “I’m happy as a meadowlark. Maybe it’s because baseball men are running things on this club — Red Schoendienst and Stan Musial. But I’ve found a relaxed atmosphere. This seems to be a fairly well-knit organization, closer than most.”

Maris’ new teammates were impressed with more than just his work ethic and easy-going manner. Little things like his baserunning and the ability to break up a double play, or the strength and accuracy of his throwing arm, didn’t go unnoticed. During spring training in 1965, Tony Kubek, the former Yankee shortstop, heard a common observation from many players.

“It was interesting when Roger went from the Yankees and played with the Cardinals on their pennant-winning teams. The next spring (after the ’64 Series), we were down in Florida and saw some of the Cardinal players like Ken Boyer, Dick Groat, Bob Gibson and Mike Shannon. They all said, ‘You know, we knew he could hit home runs. We didn’t have any idea he could run and do all these other things!’” Kubek recalled. “For seven or eight years, he was as good as anybody in the game, and I include the players I played with and against — Mickey Mantle, Al Kaline, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson or Roberto Clemente.”

Shannon, a long-time Cardinals broadcaster, felt Roger’s subtle contributions to the St. Louis pennant winners “showed what a ballplayer Maris was,” saying, “he no longer had the power to hit home runs, but what a complete player he was. In the two years he played for the Cardinals, I never saw Roger make a mistake in the outfield. He never threw to the wrong base. I saw him make errors, but I never saw him make a mistake on throwing the ball or playing a guy out of position.”

Granger recalled, “Roger was a great hitter, not just a power hitter. He was a wonderful hitter. He hit the ball to the opposite field, a good defensive ballplayer. He was just aces to me. I was totally impressed with Roger.”

Maris batted .261 in 1967 while playing 118 games in right field — in both cases his best in three years. He had nine home runs, 55 runs batted in, and of the Cardinal regulars, only Lou Brock and Tim McCarver struck out fewer times than Roger’s 61 in 410 at-bats.

“We have a great club and Maris is a great guy. More important, Maris is happy in St. Louis. That’s what counts. I know because Roger has been doing a great job, 100 percent all the time,” Orlando Cepeda, the 1967 National League MVP, said in the January 1968 issue of Pro Sports magazine.

Shannon explained that the top of the St. Louis batting order — leftfielder Lou Brock, centerfielder Curt Flood and rightfielder Roger Maris — was a key factor in returning the Redbirds to the October Classic.

“We had Lou Brock, he’d get on, steal second base. Curt Flood would hit a ground ball to the right side, and then Maris would drive (Brock) in. It was 1–0,” Shannon said. “I’ll bet we started off 50, 60, maybe even 70 games 1–0 in the first inning because of that combination. Maris was the best I’ve ever seen at getting a guy home from third with less than two out.

“Roger had the great knack of being able to pull the ball, he’d have the second baseman back, Brock would score and we’d be leading 1–0.”

A prime example of what Shannon spoke of can be found in the first game of the 1967 World Series at Fenway Park in Boston. St. Louis won the game 2–1 behind Gibson’s pitching and single runs in the third and seventh innings scored by Brock. Both were driven in by Maris — on ground balls to the right side.

The Associated Press preview of the 1967 World Series stated: “Roger Maris, both at bat and in the field, has a wide edge in right field over either Ken Harrelson or Jose Tartabull. Maris’ backup men, Bob Tolan and Alex Johnson, rate on par with Harrelson and Tartabull.

“Who knows what Roger Maris will do in the World Series? But it’s nice to think that Maris will be in it. Just because Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961, people expected too much of him. He joined the Cardinals with a .260 career average, but in the Series, he’ll be the most feared .260 hitter ever to play in one.”

Statistically, the ’67 World Series was Maris’ best:

· His .385 average was a personal high in postseason play and fourth overall in the Series, behind the Red Sox’s Dalton Jones (.389) and Carl Yastrzemski (.400), and Brock’s .414 clip.

· Maris’ seven RBIs, also a personal postseason best, was tops for both clubs.

· In the sixth inning of Game 3, after Brock bunt-singled and moved to third on pitcher Lee Stange’s wild pickoff throw, Maris drove him in with a single to right. In the eighth, Maris scored on a Cepeda double to insure the Cards’ 5–2 win.

· Maris’ two-RBI double (scoring Brock and Flood) and run scored (on a Tim McCarver single) keyed a four-run first inning in Game 4, won by St. Louis 6–0.

· Maris’ sacrifice fly drove in the Cardinals’ fourth run of Game 7 and helped chase Boston starter (and AL Cy Young Award winner) Jim Lonborg in the Series-clinching game. St. Louis won 7–2.

· Roger also homered off Lonborg in the Cardinals’ 3–1 loss of Game 5 at Busch Stadium. Maris’ round-tripper came with two out in the bottom of the ninth.

“Everything about the trade that sent me to St. Louis has turned out great. The trade is the best thing that could have happened to me,” Maris told The Associated Press on October 8, 1967, after Game 4. “After all the abuse I took in New York, it gives me great satisfaction to do well in the World Series.”

Following Game 7, Shirley Povich of The Washington Post wrote: “The Series finally returned Roger Maris to the company of gifted athletes he finally belongs with.

“In all the welter of champagne, shaving cream and beer foam in the Cardinals’ clubhouse, the man dressed hurriedly with the spiked hair is the only one who already has his pass to the Hall of Fame.

“The Cardinals had an edge at several positions, but their edge in right field was the widest of all.”

Maris decided to play another season with St. Louis, but injuries again plagued him early in the 1968 campaign. With Bobby Tolan and Ron Davis filling in at right field, Maris’s timely pinch-hitting helped get the Cards rolling toward a second consecutive National League championship. However, as Flood observed in “The Way It Is,” Maris was “a hard-used 33.”

Though his batting average dipped only six points (to .255), the cumulative effect of a career’s worth of injuries had finally taken its toll. Maris played in 100 games in 1968, 84 of them in the outfield while hitting five home runs along with 45 RBIs. He announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season, on August 5.

Maris said he decided to make his announcement before the end of the season because “I did not really care to be bothered by the press after this season.”

The Cardinals went on to win the last National League pennant prior to divisional play, finishing with a nine-game lead over second-place San Francisco. Before the ’68 World Series against the American League champion Detroit Tigers, Frank Skaff, a Tigers scout, told Bob Addie of The Washington Post, “As for Roger Maris, we think he’s lost it. We plan to jam him — although he still can be dangerous.”

As a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Game 5 at Tiger Stadium, Maris struck out with two on in a 5–3 loss to eventual Series MVP Mickey Lolich. However, Maris did have his moments, like when he scored two runs in the Redbirds’ 7–3 win in Game 3.

In a 13–1 loss to Detroit’s 31-game winner Denny McLain in Game 6, Maris was 2-for-4 and scored the only St. Louis run. Roger’s ninth-inning hit off McLain turned out to be the last of his career. Playing in six of the seven games, Maris hit .158 with one RBI in the ’68 Fall Classic.

Detroit battled back from a 3-games-to-1 deficit and defeated the Cardinals 4–1 in Game 7 at St. Louis. Maris played right field, batted sixth, and went 0-for-3 against Lolich in his final major league game.

And while the Tigers celebrated their triumph on the Busch Stadium infield, Roger Maris quietly hung up his uniform for good on October 10, 1968, bowing out with two National League pennants and a World Series championship in two seasons as a Cardinal. In 12 major league seasons, Maris played in seven World Series.

When Maris announced his retirement two months earlier, he said of his stay in St. Louis, “It’s a pleasure playing where people like you. These were probably two of the most enjoyable years of my career.”

Daniel Dullum hosts Headline Sports each Sunday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com