Swinging Sixties

An Analysis of an Exclusive Baseball Club

Freak Factor

RUTH: He owned the career record for home runs, walks, and RBI, and broke his own single-season home run record twice. No asterisks

MARIS:Well, he never hit 40 homers before or since. **1/2

MCGWIRE: No, he's not Babe Ruth, but he could play him on TV. Big Mac has hit more than 50 three times in a row and owns the record for not only one season, but two. Stat freaks take note: he may be the first hitter to pass 400 and 500 home run marks in consecutive seasons. *

SOSA: Well, the Cubs thought enough of him to pay him $10 million a year. But like Maris, he never hit more than 40 homers before. And no one would be completely surprised if he never did it again. Or if he ends up with 500 homers and a trip to Cooperstown. **


MARIS: Perhaps now that the record belongs to someone else, we can see the flip side of Roger Maris. He represents an important part of baseball--the idea that on any given day Kenny Rogers could pitch a perfect game, that as any season opens Roger Maris could be on his way to breaking Babe Ruth's record. 11 asterisks

SOSA: He's this year's version of Roger Maris. No one should seriously compare him to Ruth or McGwire for that matter, but with a little luck he could become the '90s version of Ernie Banks. Let's play dos? 10 asterisks

RUTH: Yes, he put up the biggest numbers ever, but history also stacked the deck in Ruth's favor. He'd be great today, but would he be the best? 9 asterisks

MCGWIRE: The question of whether this is the greatest season in baseball history will have to wait for the final returns, but there's no doubt this is the best anyone's ever done while hitting 60. Believe the hype this time. 3 asterisks

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