The 1961 season is chronicled in this movie. The biggest story from that season is the day Roger Maris hit his 61st home run. But alas, it came way after the deadline game (No. 154) had passed, since Babe Ruth had 60 in 1927, when they still played 154 games. And because of this, Major League Baseball marked the achievement with an asterisk. As Maris assaulted Ruth's record, his hair fell out and he faced unfriendly reports from the media. But his record proved to be breakable, as Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs in 1998 and Sammy Sosa 66 the same year. Three years later, Barry Bonds would top Big Mac with 73 dingers. I wonder who'll break Bonds' record, but the logical choice would be no one.
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The review of this Movie prepared by Teddy
If Billy Crystal overdoes his “my first Yankees game” sentimentality, his HBO film, “61*” nails every detail of the 1961 home run race between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Crystal even modified old Tiger Stadium for realism. Barry Pepper as Maris and Thomas Jane as Mantle are superb as is a supporting cast portraying teammates Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra (“90% of baseball is half mental.”)
The movie is told in flashback by Maris' widow as Mark McGuire ties her husband's record of 61 home runs. When Maris performed the identical feat, Commissioner Ford Frick undermined it in the record books with the infamous “asterisk.”
The bashful Maris is no Mickey Mantle, and is certainly no Babe Ruth. As deadline game #154 approaches, Maris is assaulted by the press and the fans. The climaxes in Baltimore and Cleveland are heartbreakingly accurate in establishing why Maris' achievement remained tarnished for the next 24 years.
The review of this Movie prepared by Angry Jim Magin