<
>

Resolution proclaims Maris should be in hall

BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota lawmakers sandwiched some
baseball talk with their legal debates, approving a resolution
proclaiming that Roger Maris should be in the Baseball Hall of
Fame. The move came as a veterans' committee considers whether to selection Maris for Cooperstown induction.

Maris, a Minnesota native who grew up in Fargo, "probably
achieved more in baseball with less appreciation from sportswriters
and fans than any other player," the resolution says. Sponsored by
Rep. Andy Maragos, R-Minot, the resolution was approved in the
House by a voice vote on Wednesday.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America, which elects players to the Hall of Fame, never voted Maris into the Hall. Since 1992, he has been eligible for election by a committee of baseball veterans.

Maris is among a group of 25 possible inductees that the
veterans' committee is reviewing. Balloting is taking place this
month, with results to be announced March 2. To be inducted, a
player must be named on at least 75 percent of the ballots.

The resolution orders Secretary of State Al Jaeger to send a
copy of the resolution to the members of the baseball veterans'
committee. It has 85 members, including the 60 living members of
the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Maris, who was born in Hibbing, Minn., grew up in Fargo. He
played 12 major league seasons, and was the longtime holder of
baseball's single-season home run record, hitting 61 homers in
1961. The ball he hit for his 61st home run, and the bat he used,
are on display in Cooperstown.

Mark McGwire, a St. Louis Cardinals first baseman, broke Maris'
record in 1998, hitting 70 homers. San Francisco Giants outfielder
Barry Bonds then broke McGwire's record three years later, hitting
73.

Maris was the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1960 and
1961, when he was an outfielder for the New York Yankees. He batted
.260 during his career, with 275 homers and 851 RBI, and was
acknowledged as an outstanding defensive outfielder.

Maris played seven seasons with the Yankees before he was traded
to the Cardinals. He played for St. Louis in 1967 and 1968,
retiring after the 1968 season. The Cardinals went to the World
Series during both years, beating the Boston Red Sox in 1967 and
losing to the Detroit Tigers in 1968.