However, many very good players have been excluded from Cooperstown because they lacked moments of greatness. Nobody could ever doubt that the outfielder had a year that was part of baseball immortality.
Maris was not a one season wonder as it is often forgotten that he won the 1960 AL MVP before his legendary season and helped the Cardinals win the World Series in 1967.
However, it would be on the strength of that 1961 season where he shocked the entire sporting world with his assault on Babe Ruth’s Home Run record. Think of the adversity in which he accomplished it. He broke the record in an era of no PEDs, he broke it with sportswriters constantly writing about how they didn’t want him to and he did so when his own fans cheered against him and wanted the more popular Mickey Mantle to be the one to chase down the Bambino.
Granted, the media attention was not the same as it is in this era of ESPN and the internet, but the pressure on the Midwest farm kid had to be unbearable. Maris would break one of the most coveted records in sports despite a nation cheering against him, and though he did not have the most statistically perfect season, it may have been the hardest one ever accrued.
Roger Maris basically had two great seasons, a couple of good ones and a remaining career that was basically average. He may not have had the career numbers the Hall covets, but what he did in 1961 was Hall of Fame worthy.
This could very well remain the biggest Hall of Fame debate this side of Rose and Shoeless Joe.
The Hall of Very Good™ Class of 2017 is presented by Out of the Park Developments, the creators of the wildly popular baseball simulation game Out of the Park Baseball. Out of the Park Developments has made a generous donation to The Hall.