One of the greatest perks to being a journalist is breaking news.
Not just the breaking news you see on CNN or some other major medium where something has been bombed or the President did something, but the kind where you're the first to report something no one else knows about. The kind where other publications will want to also publish — at least I'd certainly hope so.
You'll have to forgive me for my long introduction, but if you read the headline, you'll pretty much know what I'm getting at. It's not everyday you get to not only break news and shine light on your idol at the same time. I guess it's a special perk for me in way. After all, the journalists who break news aren't really remembered very much, but to know that I'm the reason this news gets out is rewarding beyond words. There aren't enough sentences, phrases and analogies in the world that can describe the true honor and privilege it is for me to bring you this news.
My fellow baseball fans, Roger Maris — one of the greatest baseball players of all-time, the legitimate home run king, the three-time world champion, back-to-back MVP and all around great guy — is being considered for induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
Marty Willadsen, vice president of operations and administration, confirmed the possibility with me last week.
He said Maris is being considered and selection could be as soon as next year. In an e-mail, Willadsen said, "To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, one must either be from Missouri or made his/her mark here."
It's not set in stone, but it's certainly a possibility.
Well, let's remove the doubt.
Maris played three and half years in Missouri; 1958 (split with Cleveland)-1959 with the Kansas City Athletics and 1967-1968 with the St. Louis Cardinals. In those three and a half years, Maris batted .259 in 446 games, 1,554 at-bats, collecting 49 home runs, 403 hits, 72 doubles, 19 triples and 225 RBIs. Maris' Missouri career is also highlighted by a .514 slugging percentage and .319 on-base percentage.
He only struck out 204 times and when you subtract that from his 1,554 at-bats, that leaves 1,350 at-bats Maris either got on base or at the very least made contact with the ball. That's pretty darn good.
I'd say Maris made his mark in Missouri as an athlete by numbers alone, but if folks at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame need more convincing, here it is.
In 1958, Maris finished in the AL top 10 in games played, at-bats, runs scored, total bases, home runs, extra base hits, at-bats per home runs and a large number of defensive categories. In 1959, Maris was a two-time All-Star, finished in the AL top 10 in triples, offensive winning percentage and putouts as a right fielder. His final two years in St. Louis was the only time Maris spent in the National League, however, in 1967, Maris finished in the NL top 10 in putouts as a right fielder, fielding percentage as a right fielder and fielding percentage as an outfielder. And in his final season, 1968, Maris once again was in the top 10 in the NL for fielding percentage as a right fielder.
Page 2 of 2 - Clearly he wasn't the same offensive player he was earlier in his career when he finished in St. Louis, but his bat still played a major role for the Cardinals, during his tenure there because — oh yeah — Maris led the Cardinals to a 1967 World Championship and 1968 National League Championship.
His induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame is often debated, although it's clear he should be in there, but his induction to the Missouri Sports Hall of Famer should be an unquestionable "yes." Maris and his family called Missouri home from the time he was traded to Kansas City till he retired and moved to Florida.
Some of those who have the power to elect Maris to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame are probably going to say what everyone else does. "He's best known for hitting 61 home runs in 1961."
Okay, let's get technical.
Five of those 61 home runs came against Kansas City. And four of those five home runs were hit on the road in Kansas City.
So there you go.
A Missouri Sports Hall of Fame induction for Maris is not only deserving for him and his family, but it should light a fire under the folks in Cooperstown who have the power to put him in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
For right now it appears to be 50/50, but if it does happen I'll be first in line for the induction ceremony in Springfield. This is something I certainly won't miss.
But let's not end it here.
Follow me on Twitter @DominicGenetti and we'll keep the discussion going with #MarisMOHall.