Dear Mr. Frick,
You sir, have tainted one of the most revered records in all of baseball.
Why did you do it? Did you fold under pressure or just have a personal vendetta against Roger Maris? Maybe Mantle too as I believe you made your ‘decree’ prior to being certain which one of them had the better chance of taking the crown off the ‘beloved’ Babe’s head.
This record was broken legitimately and within the course of a season. Just because the season was eight games longer than the prior years, Maris should not be denied a bona fide record, broken without the aid of any performance enhancing techniques. Unless, of course, you think three packs of camels a day enhanced him in any way.
Anyone who looks at the record book in the future will view it as a record that has a problem attached to it. That is what people do when they see an asterisk you know. They begin to let their eyes drift to the bottom of the page, in order to see what explanation needs to be said about a particular item.
You, as part of the elders of the game, took it upon yourself to proclaim that Maris’ record was not legit. That is the only such hallowed record that has such a disgraceful companion with it.
It is my opinion, sir, and maybe only mine, but I believe you ruined the remaining portion of his baseball career. His health began to decline; he was losing his hair due to the stress of the fiasco.
When a man has within his grasp, the chance to dethrone one of the all time greats that should be what he has to deal with; not a baseball commissioner who had no backbone.
You are aware that he won two consecutive Most Valuable Player Awards. Did you also know that he is one of only two players in the course of major league history to win two MVP awards and not be invited into the National Baseball Hall of Fame?
In great part, I point the finger of blame right at you. For the longest time Maris was the only player with a ‘major’ record who was not a Hall of Famer.
Your total disrespect for Maris and his outstanding achievement diminished his chances of being one of baseball’s immortals.
I have gone so far as to send a letter to Stan Musial (who was on the Veterans’ Committee at the time) to take a close look at Maris’ contributions to the game as well as his statistics.
I am not saying that Roger’s statistics alone made him worthy of the Hall of Fame. I am saying, that what he did and how he did it, along with his two MVP awards made him a desirable candidate.
I know you are gone now and this letter will never reach you. But it sure takes a load off my chest to write it.
If you and Roger are in the same place, and perhaps have mended the fences, please tell him I am still doing anything I can to help him gain entrance into the Shrine.
Roger Maris’ No. 1 Fan
© Clifton Eastham 2009. All Rights Reserved.