Vintage Photo of the Day: Mantle and Maris in September 1961

The stress caused his hair to fall out.

When perhaps the most famous record in baseball, one that Babe Ruth had held for 34 years, was on the line, everyone was interested.  Everyone wanted a piece of Roger Maris.

1961 Mickey Mantle Roger Maris photoOur Vintage Photo of the Day belies that now well-documented truth.  It’s a terrific back-to-back shot of the M&M Boys taken in September of 1961, at the height of the home run chase in what would become a Yankees season for the ages.

By Labor Day, it was obvious that the media and fan pressure would be enormous down the stretch for a soft spoken guy from North Dakota.   Still, there were times he could smile—or at least put on a happy face for the cameras.  Mickey Mantle could bring it out in him.  Mantle, too, had been chasing the Babe, but eventually it became clear that Maris would be the real challenger.

This 5 ½ x 8 3/4’” black and white news photo shows the duo posing at Yankee Stadium.  There’s a file date on the back and the photo is in excellent condition.

Eventually, of course, Maris would homer into the right field stands a few weeks later, setting a new record of 61 home runs in a single season, although it was accomplished in 162 games, eight more than Ruth played during the 1927 season.

Maris’ record was eventually smashed during the controversial late 1990s, first by Mark McGwire and eventually Barry Bonds would own it.  Many, however, still believe Maris to be the true champ.

Either way, it’s a memorable moment in time when two modern day Yankee stars, both now long gone, shared a light moment in a season that was both thrilling and exhausting.

The photo is among the featured items in RMY Auctions’ current sale which closes Tuesday, March 18. To register or bid, click here.