Dec 7, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Yankees logo during the MLB winter meetings at Gaylord Opryland Resort . Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Maris named to Hall of Fame ballot

Last Friday, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum named baseball legend Roger Maris to their 10-person Golden Days Era Committee ballot. A former Gainesville resident, Maris would be elected to the Hall of Fame with 75 percent of the vote.

Maris’ Career

During a 12-year career, Maris played for the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Athletics, New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals. He won three World Series championships including two with the Yankees in 1961 and 1962. He won a third World Series in 1967 as a member of the Cardinals.

A seven-time All-Star, Maris won the American League MVP in 1960 and 1961 and an AL Gold Glove in 1960.

Arguably the greatest moment of Maris’ career came during the 1961 season when he hit 61 home runs to break Babe Ruth’s record for home runs in a season.

Maris finished his career with 275 home runs after retiring in 1968. The Yankees retired Maris’ N0. 9 uniform on July 24, 1984. Maris passed away on on Dec. 14, 1985 after a battle with lymphoma.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BWAA) considered Maris for election to the Hall of Fame between 1974 and 1988. However, Maris never received enough votes for election.

Gainesville background

Following retirement, Maris and his family moved from Kansas City to Gainesville, where he ran a beer distributorship for Anheuser-Busch and where his sons would attend Oak Hall School. In 1977, Maris helped fund, design and put together a baseball field at the school. Maris himself laid down the sod. The field was eventually renamed Roger Maris Field in his honor.

At Oak Hall, Maris’ sons Kevin and Randy played baseball. In 2020, Oak Hall named Kevin Maris as the school’s head baseball coach. Maris previously coach at Oak Hall starting in 1990 before becoming the head coach in 1997. He coached at Oak Hall until 2008 before leaving to become the head baseball coach for St. Francis. Maris left St. Francis in 2015.

The Era Committees

In addition to the regular ballot voted by the BWAA, the Hall of Fame recognizes an additional group of ballots voted on by the Era Committees. Originally called the Veterans Committee, the Era Committees vote on players who are no longer eligible for the BWAA’s ballot. There are four total committees that comprise the Era Committees, each consisting of 16 voters and representing a range of years.

The Early Baseball Committee votes on those whose greatest contribution came prior to 1950. The Golden Days Committee votes on those between 1950 and 1969. From there, the Modern Baseball Committee votes on those from 1970 to 1987. Finally, the Today’s Game Committee votes on those from 1988 to the present day. Each committee votes twice in a five year period on a rotation. This year, the Early Baseball and Golden Era Committees vote on their ballots. Every ballot consists of ten candidates. The Committees will meet on Dec. 5 at baseball’s Winter Meetings to vote.

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