58 years ago, the Yankees traded for Roger Maris and turned him into a home run king
On Saturday morning, the Yankees traded for NL MVP and home run king Giancarlo Stanton to pair with the American League home run leader and 2017 AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge. But, that didn't mark the first time the Yankees traded to acquire one of the better power hitters in the game. Just less than 58 years before the Stanton trade, they made a deal for Roger Maris.
On Dec 11, 1959, the Yankees sent the quartet of Norm Siebern, Hank Bauer, Marv Throneberry and Don Larsen to the A's in exchange for Roger Maris, Kent Hadely and Joe DeMaestri.
Maris instantly became a star in New York. In his first season in pinstripes, he made his second All-Star team and led the league in RBIs (112) and slugging (.581) on his way to being named MVP. And if one year was enough to justify the trade, year two bumped it solidly into lopsided territory.
The next season, Maris was even better, battling fellow Yankee outfielder Mickey Mantle in pursuit of Babe Ruth's home run record during the storied 1961 campaign. Entering September, both players appeared poised to make a run at Ruth's 60: After a doubleheader against the Indians on Sept. 10, Maris stood at 56 homers while Mantle was only slightly behind with 53.
Their paths notably diverged from there, as Mantle made only 39 plate appearances the rest of the season due to an abscessed hip. He hit only one more home run the rest of the way.
Maris remained healthy and hit four additional home runs to pull into a tie with the Babe entering the last game of the season. On his second at-bat on Oct. 1, 1961, he hit No. 61 to claim the record as his own:
The Yankees went on to win the World Series that season and repeated in 1962, despite Maris' struggles in both of those Series. All told, New York reached the Fall Classic in each of Maris' first five seasons in pinstripes, and the right fielder was named an All-Star in each of his first three. Meanwhile, the A's never finished higher than seventh in the American League -- or within 20 games of first place -- during Maris' tenure in the Bronx.
Will Stanton's time in the Bronx prove to be as historic? Only time will tell.