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Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero Hardcover – March 16, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“ This is a wonderful, definitive biography. What an extraordinary, misunderstood life of a true American hero who didn’t want to be one. This is a remarkable work that belongs in every baseball fan’s house.”—LARRY KING

“The authors paint a splendid portrait of the Roger Maris I knew very well and the Roger Maris I wish I knew better.”—TIM McCARVER, 21-year major leaguer and Emmy-winning FOX baseball analyst

“The amazing thing about the man who broke Babe Ruth’s record was how little he resembled Babe Ruth. Introverted, troubled, shy, Roger Maris was more like a next-door neighbor than any home-run king, any Sultan of Swat. His struggles to wear the heavy overcoat of fame and notoriety are fascinating. Tom Clavin and Danny Peary show us why it didn’t fit. Terrific work.”—LEIGH MONTVILLE, author of the national bestseller The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth

“Forty-nine years later, Roger Maris remains the authentic single-season home-run king. Perhaps too little, certainly too late in recent years, he has been venerated and vindicated. Better yet, in these pages, he is appreciated."—BOB COSTAS

“Here, finally, is the book that Roger Maris deserved. With deep and dogged reporting, Tom Clavin and Danny Peary have done more than rescue his reputation. In this definitive portrait, Maris acquires a meaning beyond the home-run record. He’s forced to straddle a fault line in American culture, one that separates the stoic from the glib, and authentic heroes from those merely famous. This is fine and fascinating stuff.”—MARK KRIEGEL, columnist for FOXSports.com, author of Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich and Namath: A Biography

About the Author

Tom Clavin is the author or coauthor of sixteen books. For fifteen years he wrote for The New York Times and has contributed to such magazines as Golf, Men's Journal, Parade, Reader’s Digest, and Smithsonian. He is currently the investigative features correspondent for Manhattan Magazine. He lives in Sag Harbor, New York.

Danny Peary is a sports and pop culture historian who has published twenty books. His movie, television, music, and sports articles and interviews have appeared in such publications as FilmInk, Movieline, Satellite Direct, OnDirect TV, TV Guide, TV Guide-Canada, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times, The Daily News, The Boston Globe, Sports Collectors Digest, The Soho News, The Philadelphia Bulletin, Films in Focus, Films and Filming, Slant, L.A. Panorama, Memories and Dreams, The East Hampton Independent, and Country Weekly. He is the New York correspondent for the Australian magazine FilmInk and a contributing editor for brink.com  He lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (March 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416589287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416589280
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #932,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Maury Allen wrote a prior biography of Roger Maris in 1986, and now Tom Clavin and Danny Peary have written the definitive biography of baseball's "reluctant hero." Like several other individuals Maris has become more appreciated with the passage of time. Maris had people who would be remembered favorably and unfavorably in his career. Minor league manager Dutch Meyer punished Maris for a poor throw to third base by having him repeatedly make long distance throws to third base until Maris told him enough was enough. Kirby Farrell and Harry Craft would be remembered favorably along with Jo Jo White who taught him to pull the ball.

I graduated from high school in June of 1961 and vividly remember that memorable season when Maris challenged Ruth's home run record. Unlike today when players hold post-game press conferences the Yankees provided no protection for Maris as he was inundated with questions from all sides regarding his opinions on baseball and non-baseball related matters. Yankee publicist Bob Fishel said he never thought of having a press conference at the time following a game. It was baseball commissioner Ford Frick who taught the youth of America the meaning of the word "asterisk" when he proclaimed that Ruth's record must be broken in 154 games. Frick was a close friend of Ruth's and acted as a ghost writer for him. The authors correctly mention the unfortunate incident that took place in 1960 in Detroit involving someone who threw the back of a chair from the right field stands at Maris following a controversial home run by Bill Skowron. The movie 61* incorrectly mentions it as happening in 1961. I know it was in 1960 because I was sitting in the second deck above the Yankees' bullpen for that game.

Roger Maris spent two happy years with the St.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was aware of all the crap that Roger Maris had to put up with during the 1961 season and the ensuing years with the Yankees, which will always amaze me. A very underrated player. He is the true single-season home run record holder, and not the frauds, like "Big Head" Barry Bonds, Sammy "I Don't Speak English" Sosa, or Mark "He Touched My Heart" McGwire, who cheated Maris, Ruth and Aaron, among others.

I liked this book alot because it takes place in the era when I first came to love the game of baseball, and also because I'm a huge Yankees fan. My only quibble is that I could have done without all the Maras/Maris family history. It was confusing and boring to me. Thankfully, most of the book focuses, as it should, on its subject. For those who have friends or family who are Yankees' fans, this would make a great gift.
Recommended
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Format: Hardcover
Very nice book, about a very mis-understood, but very nice man, and great ballplayer. How the press kept him out of the Hall of Fame is one of the biggest crimes perpetrated by the frustrated pundits. Though the book drags a bit with the family tree stuff, you do get a solid appreciation for a guy who has unfortuantely passed for over 25 years. The description of his two MVP seasons in '60 and '61 is very good, as are his two Cardinal years. The book focuses on more than his home runs, but the complete ballplayer he was. His bond with Mickey Mantle is well told also. The last 15 or so pages will tug at your heart, as it describes his last days, as well as his bonds with some of the special people in his life (including Mantle). I re-watched "61", the Billy Crystal movie immediately after reading this. If there is a just God, Roger gets his day in the sun at Cooperstown someday. I hope every voter on the Veterens Committee reads this in the future -- its a crime he's not in there with them. Class book on a class guy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is thoroughly researched and as honest a biography as I've ever read.
It evoked all the emotions: anger, sorrow, gladness.
It truly explains the Yankees lack of protection of a real superstar athlete that was hounded and brutilized by a dishonest press.
George Steinbrenner made up for some of the mistreatment after Roger retired but the real homerun champion for a season suffered more than necessary to achieve what Mickey Mantle considered the greatest achievement in sports.
Roger was a true winner, improving every team he was ever on. I remember as a boy of 13 being very excited that my team (Yankees) got him because it was well known by anyone that followed baseball that he was a great talent. The Yankees did not resume their championship runs in the 60's until Maris came aboard.
Great book, enlightening, worth re-reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading this book I have even more respect for Roger Maris than ever. This is a man who deserves Hall of Fame admission.
If you want an excellent read, well crafted and filled with observations from witnesses to the events, this is your book!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who watched Maris from afar with some disdain--after all, he was a Yankee, I remember thinking after he was traded to my Cardinals how good a team player he was, unlike the stories that had dribbled from the New York press. If you want a complete and fascinating portrait of his career, from the glory days in New York (remember, he had clumps of hair coming out in his 61 home run season) with all its pressures, to a final couple of seasons playing the game he wanted to play, as part of a team, then this is the book for you.
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