Roger Maris' First Game with the New York Yankees was Offensive
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Roger Maris' First Game with the New York Yankees was Offensive

New York City : NY : USA | Jun 25, 2012 at 10:50 AM PDT
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Roger Maris played his first game as a New York Yankee at Fenway Park on Apr. 19, 1960. Manager Casey Stengel has Maris leading off, Hector Lopez batting fourth and Mickey Mantle hitting in the fifth spot.

It was a memorable debut for Maris, who played right field after spending much of spring training playing in left field. Stengel, recognizing that Maris was the best defensive outfielder on his team, thought about having Maris play left field at Yankee Stadium. Since Fenway Park's right field required more range than left field, Maris was in right field.

Maris had been the Kansas City Athletics right fielder, which was his preferred position. He had no problem switching to left field whenever Stengel asked him move. Maris was a young, unassuming player that always put the team ahead of individual achievements.

Curve ball right-hander Tom Brewer started for the Red Sox against the Yankees Jim Coates. It wasn't much of a contest.

Maris had four hits, including a pair of 400-ft. home runs into the right field bullpen area, a double, which occurred his first time at-bat with the Yankees, and four RBIs, as he led his new team to an 8-4 win.

Maris told reporters, "No, I wasn't trying to power the ball. I was just trying to meet the ball. And I think playing right field gave me a little more confidence, too."

The Yankees had obtained Maris from the Athletics in a blockbuster trade on Dec. 11, 1959. As far back as late June, 1958 there were rumors that the Yankees were after Maris.

The 1958 Yankees ran away from the league by June, but Stengel realized that he needed a left fielder. Enos Slaughter, who was 42-years-old and rookie Norm Siebern shared the job. Maris would be a perfect fit.

The Cleveland Indians had traded Maris to the Athletics at the June 15 trading deadline, which fueled speculation that since Maris was with the Yankees' Kansas City cousins, he would soon be playing in the Bronx.

The Yankees won the World Series in 1958, but they finished in third place, 15 games behind the Chicago White Sox in 1959. General manager George Weiss went to Kansas City owner Arnold Johnson that winter, seeking help. The rest is history.

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Kansas City's Gordon hits a RBI double against New York in their MLB baseball game in Kansas City
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