After McGwire started talking you just knew this was coming:
If nothing else, Maris should at least have a spot in the Hall of Fame . . . Maris doesn’t have incredible career numbers — 275 homers and 851
RBIs in 12 seasons — but a few things stand out other than the 61
homers in ’61. Maris won consecutive American League MVP awards, in
1960 and ’61. He was a star performer on five consecutive
pennant-winning Yankee teams, 1960 through ’64. He appeared in seven
World Series, more than any other player in the 1960s. He won a Gold
Glove. He was a four-time All-Star, a two-time RBI champion. He had six
20-homer seasons and three 30-homer seasons. He drove in 100 runs three
Please. Roger Maris had two great seasons — although it’s worth noting that in both 1960 and 1961 Maris was not even the best player on his own team — a couple other good ones, and a lot of innocuousness in a short and otherwise pedestrian career. If you put him in the Hall of fame you are essentially saying that overall career value doesn’t matter, and then you’re inducting guys like Dwight Gooden, Fernando Valenzuela, Tony Conigliaro and Bob Horner. I think Magglio Ordonez has a better Hall of Fame case than Maris, and I won’t ever be in the induct-Magglio camp.
This is not to say that Roger Maris isn’t worthy of recognition. Indeed, he’s been recognized plenty, both in the museum portion of the Hall of Fame and by biographers, filmmakers and just about every Baby Boom-vintage sportswriter that grew up within 200 miles of New York.
But even those guys decided that he wasn’t worthy of a plaque, and just because someone screwed with his legacy after he died doesn’t make him any more worthy of the Hall of Fame than he was before.