Legislator wants 61 re-instated as record

BISMARCK, N.D. -- A North Dakota legislator is trying to muscle Roger Maris' 61-homer season back into baseball's record books because of allegations that the three players who have surpassed him did so with the help of steroids.

"If these folks are on the juice, and I believe they're on the juice, then Roger should get his record back," Sen. Joel Heitkamp said.

He's sponsoring a resolution that asks baseball commissioner Bud Selig to reinstate Maris' record of 61 home runs in 1961. A spokesman for baseball did not respond to a request for comment.

The North Dakota Senate's Education Committee, which reviewed the resolution Monday, took less than 20 minutes to recommend that the full Senate approve it.

Maris, born in Hibbing, Minn., was a high school football star and American Legion baseball standout in Fargo, N.D., which has a museum displaying his memorabilia and a cancer treatment center named for him. Maris was buried in Fargo after his death from lymphoma in 1985.

His home run record stood until 1998, when St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire hit 70. Three years later, San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds surpassed McGwire, hitting 73 home runs.

Bonds has beaten Maris' 61-homer record once. The retired McGwire surpassed it twice and Sammy Sosa has bettered it three times.