Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle chasing 61 homers, 60 years later

Six decades after Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle dueled for Babe Ruth’s hallowed single-season home run record, the legacies of that 1961 season endure and its scars remain

“Sixty! Count ’em, 60! Let some other son of a bitch match that!”
— Babe Ruth

The crowds swell in the summer, when the sun accepts a starring role and baseball is most firmly entrenched in our identities. Tourists come from all over — from the Great Plains, from New York, from the major league city a 3½-hour drive away (Minneapolis)  — to visit the Midwest monument.

“Roger Maris still gets a lot of visitors,” said a part-time bookkeeper at Fargo’s Holy Cross Cemetery, whose North Dakota DNA and Maris-like aversion to publicity demands he request anonymity. “Nobody forgets Roger Maris.”

It was snowing, and the temperature barely broke zero, when Maris arrived at his final resting place on Dec. 19, 1985. He had requested to return to his hometown, to be interred where the family of his wife — and high school sweetheart — had been buried.

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