Roger Maris in surpassing Babe Ruth's supposedly unbreakable record, was still an unknown baseball star. Maris faced the hostility of the news media and the baseball public because he was a .269 hitter while Babe Ruth had a .342 lifetime batting average. The media and fans were rooting for Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays, as both players had hit over 50 home runs in a season previously, and were both life-time .300 hitters. During the 1961 baseball season, the pressure was so intense for Maris that he started losing his hair. Maris said, " as an individual, I doubt if I could possibly go through it again. They even asked for my autograph at mass".
Baseball History was made in 1961: The 1961 Season: it was the first year of expansion in baseball history; two new teams were added and the schedule was expanded from 154 games to a 162 game season. After 154 games, Maris had 59 HR's and after 162 games he had 61. Legend Babe Ruth hit 60 HR's in 154 games. In the 1961 season, Maris batted .269, hit 16 doubles, 61 HR's, scored 132 runs and batted in 142. Roger Maris was voted the Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row. In 1960, Maris had hit 39 HR's with 112 RBI's. In 1959, playing for Kansas City, he hit 16 HR's and had 72 RBI's. He retired in 1968. While attending the 1980 All-Star Game, Maris said, "They act as though I was doing something wrong, poisoning the record books." "Do you know what I have to show for 61 home runs? Nothing, Exactly nothing." Roger Maris career totals: .269 batting average in 1463 games, 195 doubles and 275 HR's. baseballhistorian.com - The History of Baseball Famous Baseball Players