We Say Good-Bye to Tracy Stallard

We Say Good-Bye to Tracy Stallard

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We Say Good-Bye to Tracy Stallard

“I’m glad he did it off me. Otherwise, I would never have been thought of again.” –Tracy Stallard commenting on the record-setting 61st home run he gave up to Roger Maris

This week marked the passing of Tracy Stallard, who pitched parts of seven seasons in the major leagues from 1960-1966 for the Red Sox, Mets, and Cardinals. Although he had a rather mediocre career (30-57, 4.17 ERA, 477 strikeouts), he’ll always be remembered as the pitcher who gave up the record setting 61st home run to Roger Maris on October 1, 1961. The homer broke Babe Ruth’s single season record of 60.

The historic shot occurred in the last game of the season between the Yankees and the Red Sox. In the first inning, Stallard retired Maris on a soft fly to left. Then in the fourth, after falling behind 2-0, Stallard threw a fastball that Maris hit over the wall for his 61st home run. It was Maris’s only hit off Stallard in seven lifetime at bats.

At the time there was some speculation that Stallard grooved the pitch to Maris which Stallard always denied, adding, “That was about all I did in my career, and I’ve had a good time with it.”

Ironically, Stallard later claimed up to that point in the game he was having the best outing of his career. He struck out five and gave up only five hits and just one earned run (the historic home run), in seven innings in the 1-0 Red Sox loss, dropping Stallard to 2-7 for the year.

By giving up the record setting home run, Stallard joined the ranks of other pitchers who are best remembered for giving up memorable homers, including: Tom Zachery, who served up #60 to Babe Ruth; and Al Downing, who gave up Hank Aaron’s #715. If you can think of others, please add in comments section.

Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from the Tracy Stallard Wikipedia page.

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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