September 8, 2018 at 1:50 pm #68722stlcard25ParticipantPaid - Annual
20 years ago today…
I was 15 years old, having followed the Cards since I was old enough to follow sports, and McGwire was the first time they had been really relevant in all that time (I know they had the NLCS run in ’96 but that was more a surprise than anything). I was working my very first job, washing golf carts at a local golf course. Being 15, I had to call home and wait on my parents to come get me after work and I remember trying to find out what Big Mac had done in every at bat as that summer wore on from the guys in the pro shop. I was even lucky enough to go with a friend’s family to see him in action in Pittsburgh when he hit #52 in August, thrilling us in the process as he hit it to RF where we were sitting (a big deal for such a pull hitter).
I knew he would get at least one at bat before I got home, as daylight dictated that I wouldn’t be home before the Cards game was a couple innings in, at least. So as I anxiously awaiting the car to show up and whisk me away home to possibly see history, I would often enjoy the still silence and think about life. It seems ridiculous now what I was worried about then…but it was a simpler time, and I think about it sometimes when I visit the golf course to play late in the evenings.
In the end, I made it home in time to watch and see my favorite ballplayer (and the one who made my namesake on many different forums over the years) come up and swat his shortest homer of the year on a hot Tuesday night, making this 15 year old’s year in the process.
Anyone else remember where they were then??September 9, 2018 at 9:10 am #68786CardsFanInChiTownParticipantFree
Good memories Stlcard25, I’m roughly your age and was in HS at the time. I know I had gotten home from golf practice and turned it on, I was watching with my mom and lil brother who was just becoming a fan at that time and I think that summer was the one that got him committed to the Cards. In my hometown it’s about 49/49/2 (Cards/Cubs/Sox) so that was important looking back on it! And now, we both live in Chicago and are both within 1.5 miles from Wrigley.
Side note, I hope the last series of the year at Wrigley is meaningful, if they could somehow get within 3 of the Cubs, that would be a lot of fun!September 9, 2018 at 10:05 am #68789
Good stuff. I was dating a lady at the time who knew nothing about baseball. She sort of scoffed at me for watching it so much, and needless to say we did not stay together too long. But of course I, like most everyone else, watched that night with Joe Buck calling the game on the National broadcast. It was cool how McGwire went over to the Maris family after the historic blast.
Bill Crystal used that in the opening scene of his movie “61*”. That is a great movie by the way. Pick it up if you see the DVD at your local thrift store, or find it streaming online somewhere.September 9, 2018 at 11:45 am #68796
Maris is still the home run king. The others did it with wonder drugs. I have no admiration for McGwire or the other cheaters… anyway McG is a cry baby. Maris never cried even with all he went through in New York. He became my fav when he joined the Cards in ’67 and lead the team in game winning hits. I savored many an evening at the old Busch watching him in RF. Cards played in the WS the two years he was here.
Sorry to deflate your memories. Just keeping it real.September 9, 2018 at 11:57 am #68797stlcard25ParticipantPaid - Annual
Sorry to deflate your memories. Just keeping it real.
It doesn’t deflate them at all. Performance enhancing drugs have been around for as long as baseball has been played for money, and it’s naive to think that ballplayers in the 60s weren’t “enhanced” by anything, whether it was greenies or coke or whatever else they chose to use.
Point being, it’s unfortunate but sports in the last hundred years are all tainted by bad things and rather than let it ruin some events while casting a blind eye toward others, I’m fine with enjoying the events as they come.September 9, 2018 at 12:04 pm #68800PugsleyAddamsParticipantPaid - Annual
My feelings aren’t quite as strong on the matter as NyQuist’s, but can certainly understand his sentiments. I loved Big Mac during this era. Those were exciting times with J.D. Drew starting his career with us too. It’s too bad those records are now terribly tarnished. I’m with NyQuist…. Roger Maris’ 61 is still the one to beat.September 9, 2018 at 8:26 pm #68853
Years ago we went round and round on this topic in the forum. Some people felt like Stlcard25 – that performance-enhancing substances have skewed results for generations. Others, myself included, feel that the PEDs of the 1990s and early 2000s skewed the home run more than anything else in history has impacted any part of the game.
Roger Maris is one of my all-time favorite players. In my heart, his 61 home runs is still the standard. While I do not think that any ingested substance helped Rog in his quest, he did play in a home park that was conducive to home runs for left-handed hitters. Still though, he hit 31 on the road, so he was not overly benefited by The Stadium. He also had the benefit of an expansion season, where roughly 20% of the pitchers would have been in the minor leagues had expansion not occurred. That may have helped him, but the fact remains that no one else in any season, regardless of their home park or season hit 61 home runs.
As we move past the ‘roid era, his record has gained in stature as once again it is rare to see players get into the high 50s. Stanton made an attempt, and may yet be the one to break the 60 barrier but we will see.
But the official record goes to Barry Bonds and his 73, followed by Big Mac and his 70. Then you have a few 60+ seasons in there, all accomplished within six seasons by guys who were far more muscular than they were a few years earlier. Obviously something was going on, but we cannot undo time and run it again under different circumstances. We are left to make individual opinions on what might have been, and who we really champion as the Home Run king.September 10, 2018 at 2:05 pm #68887
Bike mike, that’s a solid analysis of the topic.
The expansion team argument may not hold up because the Angels and the new Senators of ’61, drafted enough experienced ML pitchers to fill their rotations early in the draft. The names are 57 years old so its difficult to know the true quality of their success.
I can tell you this. Maris hit 9 HRs against the Senators a team that gave up the 2nd fewest in the league that season. Ironically, the Angels were last(10th) in HRs allowed (180) 1.1 per game, Maris hit a mere 2 against them in 18 games.
Maris’ averaged 6.77 HRs against all of the AL teams. Against Washington it was the same 6.77% of his total. The 2 vs. LAA = .032% of 61. So his numbers versus the expansion teams were actually lower than against the rest of the league.
Incidentally, Mantle hit 11 HRs against Washington, 2 more than Maris. And 4 against the Angels again 2 more than Maris in 1961.September 10, 2018 at 2:17 pm #68888
This is some of the story regarding Maris’ time with the Cards that appears in the Baseball Reference:
Twilght in St. Louis
In a salary dump, the badly faltering Yankees traded Maris after the 1966 season to the St. Louis Cardinals for Charley Smith, a journeyman third baseman. Though Maris played only two final years in St. Louis, he helped the Cardinals to back-to-back World Series, the first a stirring seven-game 1967 win over the Boston Red Sox and the second another full-length showdown against the powerful 30-game winning Denny McLain-led Detroit Tigers in 1968.
Many players from the 1967 Cardinal team have insisted over the years that Maris’ presence on that squad brought an awareness of winning and dedication to hard work that helped elevate them from talented pennant contenders to World Champions.
my ps. Maris led the NL in fielding % for RFers. in 1967.September 10, 2018 at 2:45 pm #68889OnyxgemParticipantFree
Remember this like yesterday was in college and my roommate and i were watching the game as we were both Cards fan, that was a GREAT summer and a GREAT performance by a great baseball player….
performance enhancing drugs were used from when baseball started to think otherwise is turning a blind eye, just because they couldn’t get caught then doesn’t mean it didn’t happen…and any Card fan to talk crap to big mac or make fun of him is clueless as to what he did for the sport!!!!!September 10, 2018 at 3:12 pm #68895
He cried during his confession…. obviously he thought he had wronged also.
I’m clueless? I know what he did to the sport and why it has been banned. Rules are now being enforced. Players that didn’t juice and played by the rules where put at a disadvantage while the rule-breakers got an advantage. That’s fairness?
You might have had a thrill while you were in college, but how would you feel if it was happening today?
I didn’t care to see a bunch of watermelon heads ruining the game. They got away with it until the commissioner and others saw the light and sensibly ended it.
Maybe the cheating put fannies in the seats, but we should all know the consequences had it continued.
“big mac” was and still is a disgrace in my book. Didn’t like him then and don’t like him now.
We’ll just agree to disagree, OK?
September 14, 2018 at 12:18 pm #69325
- This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by 14NyquisT.
Good stuff on the great Roger Maris, 14! As I said, he probably benefitted some from the dynamics surrounding the 1961 season. However, no one else hit 61 that year, or any year until the ‘roid rage skewed the long ball.
Rog was fortunate to be added to a team that was near the end of an unprecedented dynasty. Never the less, you look at his career and in his final 9 seasons, he played on 7 pennant winners,3 of which w1on it all. He was league MVP on two of those teams.
He was the consumate pro, and as you shared made as big of an impact in the clubhouse during his Cardinal years as he did on the field. I always look at guys who were more or less valuable than their numbers. Rog was one of those who brought more value than the raw numbers. He did tend to go into prolonged slumps at times, even in his prime years. But he always brought the hustle and professionalism to the ball park.
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