May 30, 1961 – The calendar might read Memorial Day, but the Yankees turned it into Fourth of July fireworks as they slugged seven home runs to rout the Red Sox 12-3 at Fenway Park.
Mickey Mantle hit his 12th and 13th, Roger Maris his 10th and 11th, Bill Skowron his sixth and seventh and Yogi Berra his eighth. It was only the fifth time in baseball history that three players each hits two home runs in a game for the same team.
Mantle, shown above right, began the explosion with a tremendous home run to center field in the first, scoring Clete Boyer and Maris ahead of him for a 3-0. Maris, left, made it 4-0 in the third with a long HR to right against Boston starter Gene Conley.
Jackie Jensen hit a bases-loaded double in the third to knock out Yankee starter Ralph Terry, and Boston drew within 4-3.
But from there on it was all Yankees. Skowron hit his first home run in the fifth, a shot down the line and over the Green Monster, to make it 5-3. Back-to-back homers by Berra and Skowron and a run-scoring single by Tony Kubek sparked a three-run sixth and gave the Bombers an 8-3 lead.
In the eighth, Maris hit a three-run homer against Mike Fornieles and Mantle followed with another long drive to center to make it 12-3. It was the first time in 1961 the M&M boys went back-to-back. Each had four RBIs in the rout.
Bill Stafford (1-2) pitched four hitless innings, retiring all 12 batters he faced, to claim the win. Jim Coates added three scoreless innings for his second save of the year.
Conley (2-4), who at one time played in the NBA for the Boston Celtics, was the loser. Conley won three championship rings with the Celtics before finishing up his NBA career with the Knicks in 1964.
BETTER DAYS: With baseball and life in general on hold during the coronavirus crisis, the SportsLifer will take a daily look at the 1961 Yankees as they captured the attention of sports fans everywhere. It was the year of the great home run race, as Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle chased Babe Ruth into history. Hopefully the SportsLifer can provide some nostalgic entertainment for fans who are starving for baseball, past and present. Play ball!
Adding National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton to a powerful lineup that already includes American League Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge has baseball fans, Yankee fans, dreaming of record home run harvests in 2018.
Stanton, who led the majors in homers last year with 59, is one of the few home run champions to be traded, part of a short list that includes Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez. And Judge with 52 homers broke Mark McGwire’s rookie record of 49, established in 1987.
The only time teammates each hit 50 homers in a season was 1961, when Roger Maris (61) and Mickey Mantle (54) hammered their way to the record with 115 total home runs.
Stanton and Judge pose a threat to both of those records. If they had played on the same team last year, their 111 combined home runs would have been second on the all-time list.
The rest of the top five home runs by teammates features:
110 – Barry Bonds (73) and Rich Aurilia (37), 2001 Giants
107 – Babe Ruth (60) and Lou Gehrig (47), 1927 Yankees
101 – Mark McGwire (70) and Ray Lankford (31), 1998 Cardinals
100 – Alex Rodriguez (57) and Rafael Palmeiro (43, 2001 Rangers