When you ask any baseball fan what they remember/know about the 1961 baseball season and the New York Yankees in particular, the first thing 99% of those queried would say would be “Roger Maris” and/or “Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle”. But looking back 50 years later, it is very obvious that the 1961 Yankees were about so much more than those two slugging teammates who chased the ghost of Babe Ruth.
The 1961 team was one of the greatest collection of ball players of all time. They could hit for average, for power, run, play defense, and pitch lights-out baseball. They were the most impressive slugging team of any era for more than thirty years, shattering the previous record for home runs in a season by belting 240. Their 109-53 won-loss record captured the AL pennant by eight games.
In addition to Maris’ record-breaking 61 home runs and Mantle’s 54 round-trippers, 1st baseman Bill “Moose” Skowron hit 28 home runs, Yogi Berra smacked 22, and his fellow catchers, Elston Howard and Johnny Blanchard each hit 21.
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