I suppose you could say that numerology is a hobby of mine. It’s fun to link numbers and situations together. And the amazing thing is how some of the numbers and connections have significance. That’s why when it comes to Roger Maris, his infamous jersey number — No. 9 — was very befitting for him to have. Many achievements throughout his career have that final single digit lingering in them. Was it a coincidence? Hard to say. I think it was destiny.
I suppose you could say that numerology is a hobby of mine.
It’s fun to link numbers and situations together. And the amazing thing is how some of the numbers and connections have significance. That’s why when it comes to Roger Maris, his infamous jersey number — No. 9 — was very befitting for him to have. Many achievements throughout his career have that final single digit lingering in them. Was it a coincidence? Hard to say. I think it was destiny.
Let’s start with the early years.
Maris debuted with Cleveland in 1957 and smashed a total of nine doubles. The next season, split between Cleveland and Kansas City, Maris belted nine home runs for the Indians and an additional 19 bombs for the Athletics. He played in 99 games when he appeared on the Kansas City scene and collected 99 hits. Defensively, Maris also had nine assists in the outfield. In the ninth year of the ’50s (1959), Maris earned his first All-Star selection, scored 69 runs and had an on-base percentage of .359.
Oh, yeah, there’s also that 1961 season.
Every ninth home run that Maris hit was in Yankee Stadium except for one. That one home run away from home was on the road in Kansas City, it was No. 27 off of Norm Bass. However, Maris lived in Kansas City during at the time, so one could stretch it out to say that Maris was technically “home” for every nine home runs he hit. Also, Maris belted more home runs against the Detroit Tigers in September of 1961, the ninth month out of the year I should add — Maris was also born on Sept. 10, 1934. And once again, he had nine assists in the outfield, accompanied by only nine errors.
Nine was also fine in 1966. Maris appeared in 119 games and hit nine doubles. The next year in St. Louis he hit nine home runs and then retired after the 1968 season.
I guess it was only right for Mark McGwire to cheat — I mean break — Maris’ single-season record in September. I guess it only would have been better if he hit it the next day, Sept. 9 (McGwire broke the record Sept. 8) just to let the numbers line up significantly. But when you look at the dates Maris hit home runs in ’61, Sept. 8 is left open. Maris hit home runs on Sept. 7 and Sept. 9, but maybe that’s just the way fate allowed everything to play out. Maris got his own day in history by belting No. 61 on Oct. 1 and McGwire got his own day on Sept. 8, 1998. I guess you can say fate did not allow Big Mac to shadow Roger more than he already had.
And I suppose it was fate yet again that came into play last weekend, Sept. 24, when the New York Yankees celebrated the 50th anniversary of 61 in ‘61.
The Bronx Bombers faced the Boston Red Sox, just as they did 50 years ago on the last home game of the season. It was all about No. 9, the number that stands solely for Maris inside Yankee Stadium, and I don’t know if it was Roger making a deal with the man upstairs or if the stars and planets were just arranged a certain way for the two most popular teams in the game to do this, but for the Yankees to collect nine runs on nine hits and beat the Red Sox (who also collected nine hits) — that was pretty special.
Dominic Genetti writes for the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post.