Bob Cerv did have a memorable baseball career.
He only played from 1951 to 1962 and was more of a spare off the bench a majority of the time.
He was, however, a World Champion and an All-Star. But he's probably best remembered being roommates with Roger Maris.
"He was a good guy," Cerv said in a phone interview Monday. "Harry Craft was the manager (in Kansas City) and he said, 'I want you to room with Maris. They say he's a red-ass, find out and let me know.' Hell, he was a normal guy."
Maris and Cerv continued to be roommates when they played for the New York Yankees. Mickey Mantle also lived with them.
So when it comes to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cerv's opinions are pretty much the same.
"I think he should be in. I don't know what else you have to do. He was the most valuable player a couple years, hit the record 61 home runs; he was a great outfielder," Cerv, 87, said. "I talk to some of the guys in St. Louis and they said he should've been the Most Valuable Player the year they won there (in 1967). He just had a hell of a year that first year for them."
It's clear the two were good friends throughout their post-baseball days. In Maris' final days of life, he and Cerv got to spend five days together. Five days surely special to Cerv. Maris was living in Florida.
"I had a son down in Albany, Ga. working, and I got down there and said that's not very far from Rog," Cerv remembered. "We spent about four or five days together. He was in remission then and that fall he died. We stayed up for two days, never slept for two days. We had a lot of good times together."
Being the Maris admirer that I am, perhaps I'm a little biased when I say there's no doubt he should get the recognition he deserves. One blogger even noted the New York Sports Hall of Fame — that is if one exists or is one day established. But there is nothing negative anyone can say about Maris as a player or a man, and considering all the players who came out and admitted they used steroids or illegal drugs — Mark McGwire — Maris shines in an even brighter light.
Scott Anderson, who had a professional football career with the Minnesota Vikings, is a member of the University of Missouri's Hall of Fame. He knows what it's like to be recognized for his efforts as an athlete playing in Missouri.
"I think he should absolutely be in. It would be a great feather in Missouri's cap to have Roger as part of our (Missouri's) Hall of Fame. I would hope that would surely happen, and no one is more deserving," Anderson said Friday at NFL's Punt, Pass & Kick competition. "I remember him with the Yankees, and of course, Mickey Mantle. He was truly one of my heroes and I would love to see him get elected into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame."
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