Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero

By Gorman, Bob | Nine, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero


Gorman, Bob, Nine


Tom Clavin and Danny Peary. Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero. New York: Touchstone/Simon and Schuster, 2010. 422 pp. Cloth. $26.99.

Some in the press called him surly. Others labeled him a whiner. To Robert Creamer in 1963 he was "an unsatisfactory hero." But much of this perception, as Tom Clavin and Danny Peary make abundantly clear in their excellent biography of Roger Maris, was created by the press: "With relentless negativity, they drove him into becoming exactly what they wanted him to be: a bitter person whom anyone would have difficulty calling a hero" (263).

It's not that Maris was entirely blameless or did nothing to contribute to his problems with the press. He was an intensely private man, a no-nonsense player who found it impossible to open up to anyone but those closest to him. He was direct and abrupt to a fault, refusing to suffer fools, even if doing so would have benefited his image. And according to Clavin and Peary, he was unforgiving toward those he felt had wronged him in some way. To illustrate the point, the authors tell the story of Mars's refusal to attend the fiftieth anniversary celebration of Yankee Stadium in 1973. In late 1966, Yankees general manager Lee MacPhail sent Maris to the Cardinals without informing the player, even though Maris had told the GM months earlier his preference to retire rather than be traded. It engendered a decades-long hatred of MacPhail. Confronting the Yankee boss in the spring that year, Maris told him, "If the Cardinals have an Old-Timers Day, I go. If you have one, I don't. Is that plain enough?" (352).

Clavin and Peary interviewed well over a hundred of Mars's surviving family members, friends, teammates, and former opponents in building their portrait of a complex, misunderstood personality. They delved extensively into his childhood, addressing such issues as the marital conflict between his parents, and his mother's lifelong feud with the Maras branch of the family (which led to the change in the spelling of his last name), to explain his obsession with privacy. "He was such a bad interview," they assert, "because he grew up being secretive about his family, and, even more so than other Midwesterners, thinking questions of any type were rude and an invasion of his privacy" (168).

They also paint a picture of a loving family man and a great teammate. Those interviewed testify to his integrity, modesty, humility, kindness, and sense of humor, traits not seen--or outright ignored--by the press. It was a side of him that Maris seemed to intentionally keep hidden from those he considered to be outsiders. The authors relate a tale that captures the essence of the man: During a series in Baltimore late in the 1961 season, Maris and friend Whitey Herzog slipped by reporters to twice visit a sick child in Johns Hopkins Hospital. While public knowledge of this event would have gone a long way toward humanizing the star, "Maris never wanted publicity when he visited hospitals during his career. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.