The Pinstripe Alley Top Moments Tournament enters the second round of the 1960-1979 bracket. Vote for the moment that deserves to move on in the poll below.
(#1) Maris sets single-season home run record
One of the greatest records in sports, not just in baseball, is the single-season home run record. For 34 years, this incredible feat was held by Babe Ruth, as the Sultan of Swat swatted 60 home runs in 1927. The record he had broke that year was previously his own when he hit 59 in 1921. Fast forward to October 1, 1961 on an afternoon in the Bronx against the Boston Red Sox. With the game scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, Roger Maris stepped up to the plate and blasted a Tracy Stallard pitch into the right field stands to give the slugger his 61st, and record-breaking, home run of the season.
Maris' record-breaking home run, in fact, came on the final game of the season. The 1961 season also featured an intense home run race between Maris and his teammate, Mickey Mantle, who ended up hitting 54 home runs that season himself. Overall, Maris finished the season with a .269/.372/.620 batting line with a Major-League-leading 141 RBI and 132 runs scored to go along with those 61 homers. Maris' incredible '61 campaign also netted him his second consecutive Most Valuable Player award by edging out his teammate, Mickey Mantle, by just three points for the award.
For some, Roger Maris' 61 home runs is still considered to be the "true and clean single-season home run record" given the Steroid Era which produced monster single-season home run numbers from Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and eventually Barry Bonds. For the record, I, personally, don't consider this to be the case, but that's a completely different topic for another day.
Entry written by Jesse Schindler on November 25, 2013.
(#4) Reggie Jackson hits three home runs in 1977 World Series, Game 6
The Yankees could have ended the 1977 World Series in five games. They had the Los Angeles Dodgers on the brink of elimination, but the Dodgers were able to win Game 5 at a score of 10-4, tagging Don Gullett for six earned runs. The Yankees came into Game 6 wanting to stop the buck right there--they had no desire to head to a decisive Game 7. Reggie Jackson made sure that that would not be a reality.
Reggie Jackson was acquired that past offseason for this exact purpose. After the Yankees were swept by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1976 World Series, George Steinbrenner wanted to add one more piece to seal the deal. Jackson was signed to a five year, $2.96 million contract ($12.1 million in today's dollars) in hopes that he could help the Yankees win a World Championship.
Jackson began his historic night in the bottom of the fourth inning; the Dodgers at that point had a 3-2 lead. On the first pitch from Burt Hooten, Jackson hit an absolute bomb to right field to put the Yankees ahead 4-3. The Yankees added to their lead to make the score 5-3, and the Dodgers had to bring in reliever Elias Sosa to fan the flames. Jackson swung at only his second pitch of the night and hit a line drive right over the porch in right field to put the Yankees up definitively at 7-3. That would have been enough to win the game and enough to seal his legacy. But that just wasn't Reggie's style. Against the knuckleballer Charlie Hough in the eighth and on just Jackson's third swing all night, he hit his third home run to dead center.
Jackson had tied Babe Ruth's World Series single-game home run record, and more importantly, he had helped the Yankees win their first World Championship since 1962. The Yankees would win again in 1978, but the Bronx would never be in a frenzy like that until 1996.
Entry written by Matt Provenzano on December 2, 2013.