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Stallard, who gave up No. 61 to Maris, dies

MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

Tracy Stallard, known as the pitcher who gave up Roger Maris' record-setting 61st home run in 1961, died on Wednesday. He was 80 years old.

Stallard was a 24-year-old rookie finishing his first full season with the Red Sox when he took the mound to start against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961, the final day of the regular season. He retired Maris on a flyout in the first inning, but Maris went deep his next time up, in the fourth, for home run No. 61, breaking Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 home runs set in 1927.

Tracy Stallard, known as the pitcher who gave up Roger Maris' record-setting 61st home run in 1961, died on Wednesday. He was 80 years old.

Stallard was a 24-year-old rookie finishing his first full season with the Red Sox when he took the mound to start against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961, the final day of the regular season. He retired Maris on a flyout in the first inning, but Maris went deep his next time up, in the fourth, for home run No. 61, breaking Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 home runs set in 1927.

The home run held up as the Yankees won the game, 1-0.

"I'm glad he did it off me," Stallard later said of Maris' homer. "Otherwise, I would never have been thought of again. That was about all I did, and I've had a good time with it."

Stallard, signed by Boston in 1956, pitched in parts of seven seasons for the Red Sox, Mets and Cardinals from 1960-66, finishing with a 30-57 record and 4.17 ERA, including 20 losses -- to go with 10 wins -- for the 1964 Mets, a team that lost 109 games.

A funeral was held for Stallard on Sunday at the Sturgill Funeral Home in Coeburn, Va.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, New York Yankees