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Roger Maris honored in North Dakota

Feb 4, 2010, 4:45 PM EDT

Roger Maris AP.jpgA billboard company in North Dakota has decided to give Roger Maris his due:

A North Dakota billboard company has erected a pair of
signs in Fargo honoring local hero Roger Maris, whose record 61 home
runs in 1961 have long been clouded with an asterisk.

Because he clubbed the homers in more games than Babe Ruth’s record
60, the baseball Hall of Fame has never recognized his feat, much less
admitted him to Cooperstown . . .The billboards feature a picture of Maris during his days as a New
York Yankee and the slogan, “Fargo’s Maris ‘Legitimate’ Home Run King.”

Apart from the fact that (a) there never was any asterisk applied to Maris’ record; (b) the Hall of Fame has most certainly recognized his feat; and (c) if the billboard copy mentioned above is accurate, this is a wonderful example of superfluous quotation marks, which always seem to warm my heart for some reason, this is just fine.  Certainly beats a big empty billboard with a “rent me” sign on it.

  1. Phil - Feb 4, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    Geez, Craig, why you wanna let facts cloud the issue? You’ll never make a good tea bagger with that attitude.

  2. Steven - Feb 4, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    I live in ND, and I think part of the reason this billboard is going up is because Fargo also has a Roger Maris museum. The billboard does a bit of promotion for the museum, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re paying something to put it up.

  3. willmose - Feb 4, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    No asterisk in the record book, but the most HRs in a season was split for years into two categories, 154 game season and 162 game season. Only the HR record was split like that. Craig, don’t try and re-write MLB shameful handling of Maris’s record. Poor Roger, his only sin with the NY sportwriters was that he wasn’t Mickey Mantle. Roger isn’t in the HOF because NY sportwriters are never wrong. So A-Rod will make the HOF, but Maris won’t.

  4. Jamie - Feb 4, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    A bold statement, but I guess the slogan “Fargo’s Maris ‘7th Most Home Runs in A Season’ King” didn’t have the same ring to it.

  5. Drew - Feb 4, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Yeah, in this case, those quotes are exactly what the doctor ordered. There’s a picture in the sidebar of the article…they’re definitely there.
    Also, I wonder if these people realize that it’s better to just enjoy the fact that Maris had that one magical season, and not try to push for the hall of fame. If they do that, it’s likely that the public at large will remind them that there’s no way in hell his career merited enshrinement in the hall.

  6. moreflagsmorefun - Feb 4, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    All I can say is the 61 is still the standard.

  7. RK - Feb 4, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    Am I the only one thinking that the quotes around legitimate are supposed to be saying that McGuire’s and Bonds’ records are tainted? That would make way more sense than this HOF stuff.

  8. Old Gator - Feb 4, 2010 at 10:44 PM

    Maybe what they should do is just erect a statue of Maris to replace that stupid lumberjack figure at the beginning and end of the Coen Brothers’ Fargo.
    Oh, and by the way, Maris never committed any “sin” with regard to the New York sportswriters. He was just a plain-spoken, quiet, straightforward guy from the upper midwest who had no idea what an asshole really was until he met New York sportswriters, and they were determined to educate him.

  9. John Dillinger - Feb 5, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    RK gets it, the billboard is referring to the pre-steroid HR record, and has nothing to do with the Ruth controversy.

  10. J - Feb 5, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    Just to clear something up about the movie “Fargo”: it’s not actually about Fargo or North Dakota. No scenes were filmed in Fargo, and only the opening scene takes place in Fargo. Some scenes were shot in rurual ND only because there wasn’t enough snow on the ground in MN. The movie takes place in Minneapolis and Brainerd, MN. The Coen brothers, who are from MN, only named it “Fargo” because they thought it sounded better than “Brainerd”.
    The lumberjack is Paul Bunyan, whose statue is in Brainerd. And according to wikipedia, that statue in the movie isn’t even the real statue.

  11. J - Feb 5, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    And for those saying that Maris only had one good season, he was actually MVP in 1960, in addition to 1961. If I remember correctly, Maris and Frank Thomas are the only back-to-back AL MVPs not in the HOF. He was a 4-time All-Star and also won a GG in 1960. He played in 7 WS and won 3. Like many players, the only reason he is not in the HOF is because he couldn’t stay healthy. In his 12 MLB seasons, he only played 150 games 3 times. Had he stayed healthy, his career numbers would look much different. Like I said, you can say that about a lot of players not in the HOF.
    Even though I am a huge Maris fan, he just wasn’t a top player long enough to justify a spot in the HOF.
    Maris also was a great football player, and still holds the national high school record of 4 kick return TDs in one game. He was recruited to play for Bud Wilkinson’s powerhouse Oklahoma team in the 1950’s

  12. Old Gator - Feb 6, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    I had heard that the movie was shot someplace else, and since I did know that the Coens grew up in the Minny burbs, I suppose I should have guessed that. Regardless, I can’t distinguish Paul Bunyan from any other lumberjack statue without Babe the Great Blue Ox beside him, who I guess fulfilled the same role for PB that sheep do for New Zealand shepherds, since he never seemed to yoke the thing up – preferring to drag his axe along behind him, if I recall aright. And then there was that episode about a moose turd pie….
    Anyway, it’s a moot point. The film was about Fargo, even if it’s not the real Fargo. Peter Stormare never really ran Steve Buscemi through a woodchipper, either – but the movie is still about Peter Stormare running Steve Buscemi through a woodchipper, isn’t it? There’s a principle of dystopian alternate reality operating here, something of which the Coens are masters. I believe firmly in it, because if you have a look around, mere reality truly sucks.

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