Sunday, August 13, 2023

The Mick or Roger? The Best of 1961!


TRIVIA WINNER: The winner of this week's trivia contest is Dennis Cympl of Wauwatosa, WI, who correctly ID'd Lee Maye as the player who released the 1964 song "The Breaks of Life."The Prize: Starbucks Gift Card.

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NEW TRIVIA QUESTION: In what year did Mantle and Maris hang up their cleats?

There were so many phenomenal things about Roger Maris' 1961 season, to lump them all into 61* just isn't fair. When you look at the right-fielder's stat line it defies the odds. However, when compared to his slugging mate Mickey Mantle, there are fans who still argue who should have been MVP. 

Maris could have hit for a higher average but Yankee brass discouraged it, choosing to get him to pull the ball for home runs into the short right field porch. That was the plan. Let the others get on base and have Maris take it deep. It was never done better, in that regard, than 1961.

Maris only hit .269 in 1961. Not much in comparison to Mantle's .317 and it should be noted The Mick did hit 54 homers compared to Roger's 61. He also missed the latter part of the season due to an injury. Let's look at what Maris really did accomplish though. Maris played in 161 games to Mantle's 153.

Maris scored 132 Runs to lead all major league players. He led the AL with 142 RBI. He led both leagues in Total Bases with 366 and of course did the same with 61 home runs, in being named the AL MVP. Let's look at what he didn't do however. He didn't strike out. He took the "K" only 67 times and added 94 walks. Mantle on the other hand struck out 112 and walked 126. He scored nearly as many runs (131) and drove in 128 Runs. 

Maris was never walked intentionally (Mantle was usually batting behind him) where as Mantle drew 9 such walks. The big difference next is pretty amazing. Maris grounded into 16 Double Plays. Mantle hit into just two. And Mantle stole 12 bases to zero for Maris.

All this would lead you to believe, as many fans do, it was Mantle who should have received the MVP Award and not Maris. The voting was close, 202-198. And there in lies the bottom line.

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1 comment:

  1. This is possibly a trick question. Roger Maris retired after the 1968 season. Mickey Mantle's last season was also 1968, but he didn't retire until the Spring of 1969. (There was the whole "We can't leave Mantle unprotected in the expansion draft, because what if KC or Seattle selects him? That won't do!")