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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Remove the asterisk, Maris will set HR mark
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com
Sept. 20, 1961
In July, Commissioner Ford Frick ruled that Roger Maris must hit 61 home runs within 154 official games in order to break Babe Ruth's record.
Tonight is the Yankees' 154th game to a decision - there had been one tie - and Maris needs two homers to tie Ruth. In Baltimore, the birthplace of the Babe, Maris hits No. 59 off Milt Pappas into the right-field bleachers in the third inning. Maris has three more cracks at Ruth's record, but Dick Hall retires him twice and then Hoyt Wilhelm gets Maris on a check-swing grounder back to him in the ninth.
"Commissioner Frick makes the rules," says a gracious Maris after the Yankees clinch the pennant with a 4-2 victory. "If all I will be entitled to will be an asterisk, it will be all right with me."
Maris will be saddled with that asterisk, even though he finished with 61 homers after hitting two more dingers in the 162-game season. However, later in the century, Major League Baseball will remove the asterisk and Maris will be awarded the record.
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