Today in Catholic History – Roger Maris hits his 61st home run

On 1 October 1961, Roger Maris hit is 61st home run during the fourth inning of a game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. The stress of breaking Babe Ruth’s record was enormous and many baseball fans were not happy. Later, Maris wondered if he should have tried to break the record at all. When a reporter asked him why he was hitting so many home runs, he responded, “I don’t know. Why is the Pope Catholic?”

Still, he received the Catholic Athlete of the Year Award in 1961, which he appreciated more than any of his other honors. When Roger Maris died in December 1985, eight hundred people attended his funeral Mass in the largest Catholic Church in North Dakota. One of the pall bearers was Mickey Mantle.


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