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Roger Maris' Record Isn't a Pass Into Hall of Fame

January 04, 1986

It is indeed tragic that Roger Maris got the recognition he deserved only after his death rather than 24 years ago when he broke Babe Ruth's single season home run record. However, the letter writer (Viewpoint, Dec. 21) is misguided in arguing that Maris belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Ever hear of Earl Webb? He holds the single-season record for doubles with 67 in 1931. Ever hear of Owen Wilson? He holds the single-season record for triples with 36 in 1912. Neither is in the Hall of Fame, nor should they be.

The year Maris hit 61 homers was the only time in 12 seasons he led the league in homers. Only twice did he lead in RBIs. His lifetime average was only .260 and only twice did he hit above .280. He averaged only 73 RBIs a season and he had fewer than 200 doubles.

On top of that, the year he broke Ruth's record, he didn't lead his team in slugging! Mickey Mantle topped him, .687 to .620.

Hall of Fame selections should be (and generally have been) based on an entire career, not just one or two good seasons. There are players such as Ted Kluszewski, Gil Hodges, Joe Adcock, Billy Williams, Orlando Cepeda, and Ernie Lombardi who are more deserving--and they haven't been inducted yet.

RICHARD BLUE

Hollywood

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