The 1961 World Series
matched the New York Yankees
(109–53) against the Cincinnati Reds
(93–61), with the Yankees winning in five games to earn their 19th championship in 39 seasons. After the summer-long Roger Maris
pursuit of Babe Ruth
's single-season home run record, the Series proved anti-climactic as the Yanks subdued the Reds easily.
This World Series was surrounded by Cold War
political puns pitting the "Reds
" against the "Yanks
". But the louder buzz concerned the "M&M" boys, Maris and Mantle, who spent the summer chasing the ghost of Babe Ruth
and his 60 home run season of 1927. An injury to Mantle in September halted his bid to break the record, and he wound up with 54 home runs. The less popular Maris stayed healthy and broke the record, with 61, getting the record-breaker on the last day of the season. Due to the expansion
of the American League
to 10 teams, this marked the first year played in the AL under the new 162-game schedule. Because it took Maris eight extra games to break Ruth's record (Ruth played under the old 154-game schedule) commissioner Ford Frick
decided that two records would be kept from then on—one for 154 games, and one for 162 games. This decision was later reversed, in 1991.
The was the first year the Yankees were under the leadership of Ralph Houk
, who succeeded Casey Stengel
as manager. The Yankees, who won the American League pennant easily—eight games better than the Detroit...