Is Maris' legacy fading?

After Roger Maris hit his record-breaking 61st home run on Oct. 1, 1961, the mild-mannered 27-year-old who grew up in Fargo swiftly rounded the bases with his head down, tapped home plate with his foot and tipped his cap to acknowledge the cheers.

After Roger Maris hit his record-breaking 61st home run on Oct. 1, 1961, the mild-mannered 27-year-old who grew up in Fargo swiftly rounded the bases with his head down, tapped home plate with his foot and tipped his cap to acknowledge the cheers.

But Maris' true modesty was on display when he descended into the dugout and his Yankees teammates had to force him back out for a curtain call. As the ovation continued, they made sure the reluctant hero stayed on the field.

Forty-three years and two single-season home run records later, many fans seem to be more willing to let Maris disappear into the dugout of baseball history.

His famous record was broken in 1998 by St. Louis' Mark McGwire (70), and McGwire's record was broken by San Francisco's Barry Bonds (73) in 2001. Both records happened more than 10 years after Maris died.

"From a legacy standpoint, Roger Maris is fading a little bit," said Mel Antonen, who has covered American League baseball for USA Today for 14 seasons and is a Hall of Fame voter. "People who don't study baseball history or have an appreciation for it will lose it a little bit."


Maris' 1961 season was the benchmark when McGwire and the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa chased the fences in 1998. Then it was a subplot when Bonds seized McGwire's record of 70 with 73 of his own three years later.

Now that Maris' 61 has been bested six times since 1998 by these three players, it could be drifting toward footnote status.

Though Maris still owns the single-season home run record in the American League, his other big individual accomplishment was back-to-back MVP awards in 1960 and 1961. He is not in the Hall of Fame.

Fred Worth, a mathematics professor at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark., has written a statistical analysis of the most impressive single-season home run records in baseball history. He said as the record is phased out of the books, so is the legacy phased out of people's consciousnesses.

"Babe Ruth will always be associated with the home run," Worth said. "A guy like Sammy Sosa never had a record. For people who don't know baseball, guys like that fade off into an obscure trivia question."

But at the same time, Maris' mark lasted longer than anyone else's, over a span of 37 years in which baseball transformed into a more offense-oriented game.

The year before Maris hit 61, major league players hit a home run just more than 2.5 percent of the time. In 2000, they homered more than 3.4 percent of the time and the league ERA was almost a full run higher than in 1960.

Rule changes creating smaller strike zones and cutting down on pitching inside favored hitters. So to many, including Antonen, one of the most revered records in all of sports has been cheapened.


"I think it was cheapened because baseball ownership was trying to sell the game to the general public," Antonen said. "A die-hard fan understands a 3-2 or a 2-1 game, but the casual fan doesn't. I think baseball got hung up on the home run."

So as Maris' legacy lived by the home run, so might it fade by the home run. As bigger and bigger men hit the ball farther more and more often, Maris' 61 might not even be close to the top of the list.

But to people like James Hansen, an accounting professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead and author of the 1998 book "An Interview With Roger Maris 30 Years Later - All Those Years Ago," Maris' legacy will never tarnish.

Hansen's reverence for Maris is evident in the 99-page fictional interview, and he believes Fargo will never forget.

"I don't think he'll ever fade away in Fargo," Hansen said. "He did it the right way. These guys nowadays don't."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Aaron Blake at (701) 235-7311

At Edgewood Golf Course, north Fargo

Today's morning pairings


7:30 a.m.

Tee 1A: Kevin Maris, Dave Fallo, Ed Kerr, Mike Kerr, Bill Stickel, Lenny Wagner

Tee 1B: Richard Maris, Mark Jordan, Rudy Dotnrod, Chad Swanson, George Friskop, Biran Meehan.

Tee 2: Randy Maris, Roger Fenstad, Eric Fenstad, Brooke Fenstad, Mark Fenstad, Mike Fenstad.

Tee 3: Bill Christian, Tom McCauley, Ray Auginaush, Russ LaDuke, Ken Fox.

Celebrity putter on No. 3: Paul Borghese

Tee 4A: Jim Langer, Jack Hart, Roger Kieffer, Jerry Fonfnia, Frank Miller, Jim McKay.

Tee 4B: Lee Johnson, Art Olerud, Bernie Reynolds, Randy Bertsch, Scott Breidenbach, Randy Clark.


Tee 5: Roy Sievers, Steven Maris, John Bergen, Mike Bergen, Paul Sather, Bryan Newman.

Tee 6A: Gilles Gilbert, Mick Tinglehoff, Mike Adam, Steve Schmacher, Alec Schmacher, Larry Dorand.

Tee 6B: Steve Huber, Jeff Manuel, Doug Johnson, Eric Farstveet, Jon Martin, Rich Menze.

Tee 7A: Whitey Herzog, Luke Reich, Brad Boyd, Duane Wagner, Chad Neily, Dan Sobolik.

Tee 7B: John Johnston, Mike Larsdon, Mark Beltrand, Dean Bergdahl, Doug Hoaglund, Ralph Jay.

Tee 8: Joel Wold, Cheryl Wold, Rachel Conrad, Dan Conrad, Mike Wold, Bobbi Wold.

Tee 9A: Pat Colliton, Scott Colliton, Mark Colliton, Steven Colliton, Bob Cavanaugh, Mark Palmer.

Tee 9B: Phil Niekro, Mike Kozojed, Randy Richards, Dale Ihry, Keith Ihry, Buck Ihry.


Tee 10A: Jared Eagle, Speedy Bruce, Forrest Cross, Matt Lee, Steve Hall, Noah Williams.

Tee 10B: Joey Browner, Patrick McManus, Frank Greggo, Chris Greggo, Ryan McManus, Pat McManus.

Tee 11: John Horpedahl, Tim Horpedahl, Garth Bostrom, Graham McIntyre, Steve Thom, Allen Otteringer.

Tee 12A: Barry Pepper, Roger Maris Jr., Mike Tisdale, Jim McCoy, Ron O'Brian, Neal Tisdal.

Tee 12B: Doug Simunic, F-M RedHawks players.

Tee 13A: Miek McQuillan, Ron Lonsdal, Pete Schlenker, Richard Ness, Bob Larsen, Mark Wagemann.

Tee 13B: Jenny Hall, Candice Hall, Lori Hall, Cheryl White, Laruie Uran, Brenda Rogers.

Tee 14: Roy Smalley Jr., Craig Thompson, Dick Popp, Marshall McMullough, Mari McCullough, Gary Myer.


Tee 15A: Shawn Driscoll, Denny Driscoll, Gerry Fiechmer, Bob Fiechmer, Matt Nelson, Tim Fiechtner.

Tee 15B: Beth Renner, Derrel Rowe, Bruce Carlson, Steve Keiley, Jaeden Peterson, Charlie Funfar.

Tee 16: Steve Brown, Eric Brown, John Brown, Todd DeBates, Kent Spriggs, Alan Spriggs.

Tee 17A: Dean Merthly, Eric Merthly, Doug Richards, Randy Hendrickson, Pat Gaddie, Dave Gaddie.

Tee 17B: Rick Kasper, Chuck Neecham, Nate Ost, Ric McClellan, Al McDougall, Tom Kasper.

Tee 18: Glenn Gary Lee, Fremont D. Lee, Robin J. Lee, Jeremy Lee. Mark Von Bank, Jen Lee.

Monday morning pairings

7:30 a.m.

Tee 1A: Barry Pepper, Richard Maris, Gilles Gilbert, Bryce Anderson, Rich Ferguson, Jay Seabold.

Tee 1B: Randy Maris, Charles Feeny, Jon Morris, George B. Sinner, George A. Sinner, Doug Restemayer.

Tee 2: Mike Unhjem, Chad Niles, Jack Easton, Ralph Botner, Mike Amundson, Don Schott.

Tee 3: Dale Lian, Jim Wieland, Doug Elliott, John Eidsness, John Sanden, Greg Thompson.

Celebrity putter on No. 3: Paul Borghese

Tee 4A: Tim Corwin, Dan Wilson, Benjie Froemke, Drew Corwin, Jason Keller, Mike Thompson.

Tee 4B: Larry Williams, Cary Perna, Tim Dawson, JoAnne Fellows, Jolene Thorstad, Jason Silseth.

Tee 5: Phil Niekro, Rob Robson, Barry Martin, John Elmore, John Lystad, Mike Montplaisir.

Tee 6: Kevin Maris, Joe Seeba, Kevin Gargeno, Doug Syrstad, Rick Nielsen, Jim Seeba.

Tee 7A: Rodney Paseka, Dave Hanson, Keith Falconer, Ralph Lindstrom, Lee Skallerud, Kevin Olsgaard.

Tee 7B: Roy Smalley Jr., Mike Keenan, Bryon Volk, Kyle Anderosn, Paul Holte, Bruce Olson.

Tee 8: Kerry Sprick, Shawn Sprick, R.E. Williams, Leon Kelly, Bob Garetson, Tom Collett.

Tee 9A: Bill Marcil, Lloyd Case, Lou Ziegler, James Boberg, Steve McLister, John Hajostek.

Tee 9B: John Blanchard, David Gartland, Kathleen Gartland, Scott Simonett, Curt Bridge, Tom Wold.

Tee 10A: Randy Hanten, Dave Johnson, Donnie Olsen, Craig Montplaiser, Jeff Montplaiser, Paul Kabundy.

Tee 10B: Troy Roesler, Trent Roesler, Leon Roesler, Augie Pfingsten, Danc Pfingsten, Darin Pfingsten.

Tee 11: Roy Smalley, Dan Skinner, Nick Glundt, Kevin Bucholtz, Hugh Veit, Kent Ritterman.

Tee 12: Phil Hansen, Brad Wimmer, Gerry Hall, Mike Bullinger, Barry Grant, Jim Heyer.

Tee 13A: Mike Gallagher, Jeff Lamp, Dave Suppes, Steve Tedford, Gene Gallaher, Bob Lamp.

Tee 13B: Corey Nyhus, Glenn Thorson, Wally Radtke, Tom Thompson, Corey Thompson, Kathy Wussow.

Tee 14: Jerry Bartholomay, Randy Rustad, Dennis Bakko, Barry Anderson, Aaron Knodel, Don Johnson.

Tee 15A: Curt Nyhus, Mike Webster, Chuck Breen, John Anderson, John Lillejord, Brian Meyer.

Tee 15B: Steven Maris, Robert Lechner, Mike Borgen, Duane Lee, Ed McLaughlin, Donald Schwinden.

Tee 16: Mike Magelky, Dan Huffman, Roger Gress, Tim Zerr, Kevin Bartram, Harold Blair.

Tee 17A: Gene Taylor, Craig Bohl, Larry Solberg, Steve Hanson, Mark Speral, Mark Doyle.

Tee 17B: Bill Christen, Kevin Fettig, Pat Schmaltz, Kent Satrong, Guy Goschen, Jeff Haug.

Tee 18: Brad Schlossman, Carol Schlossman, Jim Ross, Rusty Papacheck, Neva Papacheck, Virg Estenson.

Awaiting tee position: Larry Ziegler, others.

Monday afternoon pairings

Begins half-hour following first round

Tee 1A: Jason Blake, John Jensen, Larry Doeden, Jim Doeden, Bryon Newman, Jon Rudnick.

Tee 1B: George Surprise, Dan Kadrmas, Mike Couch, Bill Foley, Mike Surprise, Kris Kramer.

Tee 2: Brent Olsen, Tom Espel, Scott Neal, Don Hawkinson, Kent Busek, Randy Salzwedel.

Tee 3: Dave Anderson, Dave Schultz, Tom Case, John Nitzkorski, Rick Johnson, Larry Schrader.

Celebrity putter on No. 3: Paul Borghese

Tee 4A: Randy Maris, Tom McCormick, Steve McCormick, Bob Sweers, Chris Meier, Jeff Collins.

Tee 4B: Lyle Hornbacher, Anna Hornbacher, Gary Hornbacher, LeeAnn McGinnus, Chuck Townsend, Dick Patrick.

Tee 5: Steve Novak, Jim Kisch, Evan Mandigo, John Halverson, Sandy Bludt, Bob Invik.

Tee 6A: Joey Browner, Steven Maris, Tom Collett, Bill Howard, Robert Woods, Paul Sather.

Tee 6B: Wayne Deery, Dennis McKay, Jim Vandrovec, Gary Johnson, Billy Cobean, Tom Kenna.

Tee 7A: John Frank, Sandra Albrecht, Tim Blahnick, David Roghe, Steve Caspers, Allen Larson.

Tee 7B: Cory Tryan, Jason Tryan, Jeremy Grube, Daune Grunewald, James Degelder, Brad Kline.

Tee 8: Craig Sandstrom, Rick Lawrence, Jim Peinovich, Jamie Sprynczyatyk, Mike Layton.

Tee 9A: Roy Sievers, Mike Kerr, Ed Ker, Bill Stickel, Lenny Wagner, Scott Bloxham.

Tee 9B: Roger Maris Jr., Frank Matusik, Jim Kelly, Dan Fitzpatrick, Virg Sis, Joel Brehmer.

Tee 10A: Luke Meyre, Father Wald, Father Schlossman, Jason Kotrba, Kyle Edgerton, Sean Saranski.

Tee 10B: Greg Buiter, Robert Gibb, Lynn Hoghaug, Gary Lee, Art Kohler, Tony Bugliosi.

Tee 11: Dean Atchison, Mike Boub, Dave Schmidt, Bob Anderson, Rick Kellion, Jeff Ledoux.

Tee 12: Kevin Maris, Randy Johnson, Eric Johnson, Craig Riveland, Brady Hasbargan, Jack Lawrence.

Tee 12B: Mike Clevenger, Miek Paulson, Jerry Meley, Tim McLaughlin, John Riggs, Bill Fellows.

Tee 13A: Derek Sunderland, David Sunderland, Brad Sunderland, Jeff Jeff Koines, Aaron Stafslien, Ken Astrup.

Tee 13B: Todd Morken, Dustin Mjoen, Marty Steffens, Mark Kragnes, Dave Ekman, Elwyn Krogh.

Tee 14: Tony Appel, kent Benson, Brad Persinger, Scott Jerald, Bill Brooks, Elliott Sadlowski.

Tee 15A: Richard Maris, Orleyn Stensgard, Hank Doyle, Jerry Bolger, Jim Kapitan, Stacy Marsh.

Tee 15B: John Brown, Scott Nice, Chip Storandt, Clark Johnson, LeeAnn Montgomery, Mike Mietz.

Tee 16: Fred Schlander, Paul Tehle, Dan Tehle, Dave Barge, Doug Cameron, Ray Geisinger.

Tee 17A: Joe Dafoe, Mike Ness, Dave Symington, Bill Hughes, Tim Smith, Mike Sohi.

Tee 17B: Mike McQuillan, Larry Lein, Mike Foley, Terry Steen, Mike Stenstrom, Bud Stenstrom.

Tee 18A: Don Sweeney, Rick Sweeney, Tim Sweeney, Shawn Seimons, Don Amess, David Drage.

Tee 18B: Mike Hofer, Michael Hofer, Scott Hofer, Nate Sjostrom, Paul Keller, Steve Campbell.

Awaiting tee position: Chuck Pineo, Colin Clark, Chris Pederson, Ferado Ochoa, Mike Murphy, Shalon Heley.

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