Maris replaces Ruth with record 61st homer

Updated: October 17, 2005, 4:26 PM ET
By Larry Schwartz | Special to

Oct. 1, 1961

Bye-bye, Babe. One Yankee right-fielder replaces another as the player to hit the most home runs in a season.

Thirty-four years after Babe Ruth belted 60 homers, Roger Maris passes Ruth's mark with No. 61 on the season's final day. In the fourth inning, in Game 162, Maris homers into the Yankee Stadium right-field seats off Boston rookie Tracy Stallard.

Maris doesn't like to take curtain calls, but his teammates won't let him down the dugout steps. Smiling broadly, the usually unemotional player waves his cap to the cheering crowd of 23,154. Not until he takes four bows do his teammates let him sit down.

The historic homer is caught by Sal Durante, a 19-year-old truck driver from Coney Island. Durante, whose reward is $5,000 from a Sacramento restaurant owner, is delighted just to meet the new home-run champion. Maris says Durante should collect the bounty.

"The boy is planning to get married and he can use the money, but he still wanted to give the ball back to me for nothing," says Maris. "It shows there's some good people left in the world after all."