Half a century ago, Yankees outfielder Roger Maris slugged his historic home run on the last day of the season. The majors' big bashers of today are trying to hit equally significant homers.
On the night baseball’s regular season ended there was only one home run that anyone paid any attention to – Evan Longoria’s walk-off shot in the bottom of the 12th inning versus the Yankees that secured a wild-card playoff berth for the Tampa Bay Rays.
It is destined to be one of the game’s most remembered home runs, even if not a record like the one that the Yankees’ Roger Maris hit 50 years ago, on Oct. 1, 1961, to topple Babe Ruth’s long-held record of 60 homers.
As baseball harks back to that day, when a half-empty Yankee Stadium wtinessed Maris’s 61st homer, it also continues to mentally linger over Longoria’s unmajestic, but incredibly timed and superdramatic line drive that barely cleared the fence in left field corner of Tropicana Field. It was the final dagger plunged into the heart of the Boston Red Sox, who went from having baseball’s best record to ultimately losing a nine-game advantage in September in the wild-card race to Tampa, thus completing a virtually unparalleled collapse.