Maris family hoping for Hall call
Interest in the Roger Maris Museum, located in a hallway between the Spencer Gifts and the Nails Pro in the West Acres mall in Fargo, N.Dak., has this week been unusually strong. "We get a lot of walkers out there, and sometimes they walk by and only glance at it," says
"Hectic," of course, might mean something different in North Dakota than it does elsewhere. But one result of
"She had no idea he was going to call," says
"She told him she was disappointed to hear that. That she was sorry he chose to go down that road. She told him that hopefully something good can come from this, that hopefully there will be other things in his life that will turn out better after this all comes out. Mark has a lot to offer those guys, the Cardinals [McGwire will this season serve as the hitting coach for his old club in St. Louis] and he's experienced some things in baseball that nobody did but Dad."
Among those things is the stress of chasing baseball's single-season home run record -- stress that made Roger Maris's hair fall out in patches when he was pursuing
There could, Maris acknowledges, be at least one positive result of McGwire's admission, as it concerns his father's legacy. "The family would like to see Dad get into the Hall of Fame," Maris says. Roger Maris never came especially close to election in his decade-and-a-half on the writers' ballot -- he received a high of 43.1% of the vote in 1988, his 15th and final year of eligibility, well short of the 75% required for induction. But he is one of two of the 24 multiple Most Valuable Player award winners who are Hall-eligible but have yet to make it in, Maris notes -- the other is
"He had a stellar career," Kevin says. "He did things in the game that no one has ever done. It would be nice to see baseball right a wrong that has been going on now almost 50 years. I think a lot of fans assume he's already in there, and when we tell him he's not, they're in awe, in shock. It would be nice to see baseball right an injustice."
On Tuesday, no less a personage than
The issue of what is to be done with baseball's record books is also to be determined. Three men -- McGwire,
Of course, this is a situation in which there might be no "right thing." The Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee might choose to induct Maris, or they might not. Major League Baseball can in its books do whatever it wants with McGwire's erstwhile record. Put an asterisk next to it. Italicize it. Strike it through. Erase it. It won't change history. We know what McGwire did, and how he did it, just as we know what Maris did. We know what happened.