Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

August 11, 2013

SINGER: When baseball had icons

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The latest, serious taint involving A-Rod among other baseball notables must sadden regional Yankee fans, making a former star badly treated during his New York years shine more brightly in retrospect. I’m speaking of Roger Maris, subject of a recent, co-written paperback surpassing the rest on this great, but semi-tragic figure.

Unable at first to deal with the heartbreak of his Yankee years, particularly from ‘61 onward, I started with Maris blessedly migrating to St. Louis his last two seasons in baseball, 1967 and ‘68. He was grateful to be in a new, more appreciative National League town, and one learns via interview chunks from Gibson and the rest how clutch Maris still was. I knew he’d always been stellar defensively, but not how he would invariably procure sacrifice flies when needed, break up double plays with aggressive slides–the complete package, despite a bad hand (which the Yanks hadn’t allowed to heal properly) no longer letting him drive balls as he’d once done.

Ex-players give him big credit for helping St. Louis win pennants those two years. And of course they also won the Series in ‘67, where obviously Gibson was the major figure, but where Maris had a high average and contributed as well.

Going back to the book’s beginning, I had to alter my old view that Maris was a WASP from Fargo. In fact, he only migrated to Fargo after growing up in Hibbing, Minn., and Grand Forks, N.D. — and as a Croatian Catholic. That background included a pistol of a mom, who loved to get out on the town, yet obviously gave her son the right kind of love.

Maris then became one incredible athlete, including at football, subsequently chose baseball, did almost too well in the pros–and it goes and ruins his life! Talk about an American tragedy...

Text Only
Opinion
Featured Ads
Photos


Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Front page
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Seasonal Content
Helium debate
Helium
Section Teases

Seasonal Content
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.