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Monday, June 12, 2017

60 Home Runs in 154 games: Ruth yes. Maris no. Bonds, McGwire, Sosa?

In October 1960 commissioner Ford Frick indicated that an American League (AL) batter who challenged the season home run record of 60 by Babe Ruth, must do so within his team's first 154 games, not the new 162 games in 1961.

Roger Maris, Ford Frick and the asterisk (*) for 61 Home Runs in 1961. Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Excerpts from old research:

... baseball commissioner Ford Frick, a former writer and an old friend of Ruth's. In late October 1960 Frick was quoted in the New York Times as saying: "It's a question that has been bothering me for some time. The principal records in the book seem safe … My opinion on that (Babe's record of 60) is almost a conviction. I don't think the Babe's record is vulnerable … but I intend to ask the rules committee to study this problem and try to soften the impact when necessary. My own idea is that some records might deserve to be listed in two categories - the one made during a 154-game schedule and the other one made during a 162-game schedule."

1Barry Bonds73200136SFGNL15366447612915632213717735939025133.328.515.8631.379*7/DH
2Mark McGwire70199834STLNL15568150913015221014716228155604810.299.470.7521.222*3/H
3Sammy Sosa66199829CHCNL159722643134198200158731417110520189.308.377.6471.024*9/8
4Mark McGwire65199935STLNL153661521118145211147133211412051200.278.424.6971.120*3/H
5Sammy Sosa64200132CHCNL160711577146189345160116371536012602.328.437.7371.174*9
6Sammy Sosa63199930CHCNL1627126251141802421417881713061778.288.367.6351.002*98
7Roger Maris61196126NYYAL161698590132159164141940677071600.269.372.620.993*98/H
8Babe Ruth60192732NYYAL1516915401581922981651378901476.356.486.7721.258*97

1Barry Bonds734766.52200136SFGNL153664
2Mark McGwire705097.27199834STLNL155681
3Sammy Sosa666439.74199829CHCNL159722
4Mark McGwire655218.02199935STLNL153661
5Sammy Sosa645779.02200132CHCNL160711
6Sammy Sosa636259.92199930CHCNL162712
7Roger Maris615909.67196126NYYAL161698
8Babe Ruth605409.00192732NYYAL151691

Games above are the number for the player. But did he reach 60 homers in his team's first 154 games?

Both the 1927 and 1961 Yankees played a tie game and so the team played 155 and 163 games respectively. Ruth broke his 1921 record of 59 HR when he hit number 60 in Yankee game 154 at the Stadium. Ruth did not homer in the final game, number 155.

In 1961 Maris for some reason was allowed that extra game, too, since the Yankees had already played their tie game way back on April 22, 1961 in Baltimore. Maris reached Yankee game 155 with 58 HR. Maris hit number 59 in that fateful night game Sept. 20, 1961, also in Baltimore. Maris would eventually tie and then pass Ruth in Yankee Stadium in Yankee games 159 and 163.

But what of Bonds, McGwire, Sosa? Here are the team game numbers for when they hit home runs 59, 60, 61.

1Barry Bonds734762001139141144
2Mark McGwire705091998139141143
3Sammy Sosa666431998148149150
4Mark McGwire655211999150155156
5Sammy Sosa645772001153157158
6Sammy Sosa636251999140148149
7Roger Maris615901961155159163
8Babe Ruth605401927152154

Maris was last for all three home runs, taking the most team games to hit them. Bonds and McGwire were almost dead even for the lead. After they hit number 60, they had 21 games remaining. McGwire hit another 10 and Bonds hit another 13. Amazing no matter what they were using.

So the performance enhancing drug (PED) users out performed Maris.

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