Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mantle/Maris/Angels 1961

I've been home from work with a nasty infection so I had time to watch 61* that masterful movie Billy Crystal directed about the 1961 Home Run race between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris (both Thomas Jane and Barry Pepper are great in this movie) to break Babe Ruths single season home run record of 60.

1961 was an expansion year, first year for the Angels, so the season went from 154 games to 162 and that played into the home run record having an asterisk: Ruth hit 60 in 154 games, Maris took 162 games to break the record so Commisioner Ford Frick decided there should two separate records, thus the asterisk. Mantle finished the season with 54.

So with that I decided to see how Mantle and Maris did against the watered-down expansion American League Los Angeles Angels. Here's the home runs they hit:

April 20 at NYY Mantle 2 (3, 1st inning off Grba 1 on 2 out,5th inning off Grba 2 on 2 out)
May 6 at LA Maris (3, 5th inning off Grba 0 on 1 out)
June 11 at NYY Mantle (18, 1st inning off Grba 2 on 1 out); Maris 2 (20, 3rd inning off
Grba 0 on 1 out, 7th inning off James 0 on 2 out)
June 26 at LA Mantle (23, 2nd inning off McBride 0 on 0 out)
June 28 at LA Mantle (24, 9th inning off Duren 1 on 0 out)
August 22 at LA Maris (50, 6th inning off McBride 1 on 1 out)

Maris hit 4 and Mantle hit 5, most of them coming off Eli Grba.

So the next question is how many HRs did Grba give up that inaugural season? Twenty-six - ninth most in the league. Interesting that he had come from the Yankees where he had played the previous 2 seasons. You'd think he would have known how to pitch these guys.

Anyhow...I was just curious.

1 comment:

  1. I just re-watched 61* last week. Remember the scene where the Yankees have the late-season game against the Orioles in the bag, but the Orioles' manager decides to bring in knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm to try to prevent Maris from hitting his 61st HR in his last at-bat in game #154? I noticed in the closing credits that former pitcher Tom Candiotti played the role of Wilhelm.