Lind: Woman shares memories of friendship with the Roger Maris family
In today's "Neighbors" column, a Fergus Falls woman discusses late baseball star's family friendship and connections.
“ Deb Forstner of Fergus Falls (Minn.) says she feels blessed to say that her family and the Roger Maris family are friends.”
So wrote Tom Hintgen, Fergus Falls, in his column in the Fergus Falls Journal a while ago.
The coronavirus threat may have shut down baseball, but it can’t keep baseball fans from talking about it… or, as in Tom’s column, thinking about it and such players as Maris.
So, with Tom’s permission, here is what he wrote about former Fargo resident Maris, who played for the New York Yankees when he broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in 1961.
“My mom graduated in the same class as Roger’s wife, Pat, from Shanley High School in Fargo,” Forstner said. “They continue to talk frequently by phone.”
Still trying to figure out who's in this old photo that was framed in Fargo
Las Vegas man recalls living next door to Roger Maris in Fargo
Playing for this N.D. basketball team was a lesson in how to lose
“Deb has distinct memories of Roger being in the Forstners’ Moorhead home in the 1960s.
“Roger attended some of my parents’ social gatherings when he was back home, and he graciously signed baseballs for all of us,” she said. “Those baseballs landed in our toy box for play, and the signatures wore off. Aargh!
“But I do have good memories.”
Tom wrote that a few residents of Fergus Falls and from other areas of Otter Tail County, Minn., remember playing baseball games in which Roger played for the Fargo American Legion team.
Maris played for the Fargo Legion Post 2. His team won the North Dakota state tournament in 1950. Roger was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
He also starred in football and baseball for Shanley.
He went on to play for the Fargo-Moorhead Twins in the old Northern League, then advanced to the major leagues with the Cleveland Indians in 1957. He then played for Kansas City before being traded to the Yankees, then ended his career with the St. Louis Cardinals.
He made seven baseball all-star appearances during his 12-year major league career. He retired with his family in Florida.
“Sadly,” Tom wrote, “Maris died of cancer at 51 in December 1985. His funeral was held in Fargo and he is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in north Fargo.
“Several big-time players, including Mickey Mantle, came to the funeral.
“Much of his memorabilia is housed at the Roger Maris Baseball Museum in West Acres in Fargo. An annual golf tournament in his honor raises money for Shanley and for the Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo.”
Tom tells “Neighbors” that Deb Forstner, mentioned above, is the same age as Susan Maris, the oldest of the six Maris children.
ARCHIVE: Read more of Bob Lind's Neighbors columns
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.