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Career Paths: Roger Maris

Career Paths
Marcus' Memoirs


Cleveland Indians 1957-1958
Maris signed with Cleveland in 1953 out of Fargo, ND after turning down a football scholarship from Oklahoma. As a rookie in 1957, the 23-year-old hit .235 with 14 homeruns and 51 RBI in 358 at-bats. He played 51 games and hit 9 homers with the Tribe in 1958 before being dealt with Dick Tomanek and Preston Ward to Kansas City for Woodie Held and Vic Power on June 15.



Kansas City Athletics 1958-1959
The budding slugger hit 19 homeruns in the final 99 games of the 1958 campaign to finish with 28 (7th in the AL). Although his homer total would dip to 16 in 1959, Maris raised his average to .273 and was an All Star for the first time. On December 11, he was traded along with Joe DeMaestri and Kent Hadley to the Yankees for Hank Bauer, Don Larsen, Norm Siebern and Marv Throneberry.



New York Yankees 1960-1966

Maris finally found a home in the Bronx.  In 1960 he led the American League in RBI (112) and Slugging Percentage (.581) while belting 39 homeruns (one behind the league leader Mickey Mantle).  As a result, Maris was named AL MVP and also took home his only Gold Glove.

Maris got even better in 1961.  Not only did he set the single season homerun record with 61, but he led the AL in RBI again with 142. He also won his second straight MVP as the Yankees won 109 games and defeated Cincinnati to win the World Series.
Maris had a very good 1962 season (33 HR, 100 RBI), but a hand injury that was originally misdiagnosed tainted his last four years in New York and stalled his production.  After hitting just 13 HR in 119 games in 1966, he was dealt to St. Louis on December 8 for Charley Smith.



St. Louis Cardinals 1967-1968

In the twilight of his career, Maris provided veteran leadership to Cardinals while platooning in rightfield with Alex Johnson and Dick Simpson. He hit .385 with a homerun and 7 RBI in the 1967 World Series as the Cards defeated Boston in 7 games. St. Louis returned to the Fall Classic in 1968, but this time lost to Detroit.


Maris retired with a batting line of 

.260/.345/.476 with 1,325 hits, 275 homeruns and 850 RBI in 12 seasons. He spent his retirement in Gainesville, FL operating a Budweiser distributorship before passing away on December 14, 1985 at the age of 51 after a battle with cancer.


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