Synopses & Reviews
Before Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa, there was Roger Maris, the reluctant home run king who electrified the baseball world with one of the most unforgettable seasons the sport has ever known. Born in Hibbing, Minnesota, and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, Maris was a small-town boy who unwillingly became a New York Yankee when he was traded by the Kansas City Athletics. Almost immediately, he was thrust into the glare of the big-city lights and found himself pursuing one of the most prestigious and most celebrated of all baseball records: Babe Ruth's single-season home run mark of 60, set in 1927. Thirty-four years later, Maris joylessly was drawn into the chase and found himself the eye in a storm of controversy. He became the center of attention he never sought and the recipient of a celebrity he didn't want. As a young sportswriter, Phil Pepe joined the fray on August 2, when he took over as the Yankees beat writer for the New York World-Telegram and Sun, and he covered Maris' race for the record to the very end. Here is his firsthand account of that historic home run challenge and the man that conquered it.