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Hank Greenberg Understands Pressure on Maris, Mantle

Sept. 13, 1961 - Probably more than anyone else, Hank Greenberg (pictured in 1938) knows what Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle are going through. Greenberg walloped 58 homers for the Tigers in 1938. With five games remaining, he looked like a cinch to crack Babe Ruth's record of 60. He did not. Today he told why: "Mainly, it was the pressure. That same pressure is now on Maris and Mantle. Your fear that time is running out. You become impatient. You become paralyzed at the plate. You're so fearful you're going to swing at a bad pitch, you wind up taking a good one. Then you become so disgusted with yourself you start swinging at bad pitches. As for Maris and Mantle, I think one will, both might, break Ruth's record, but not in 154 games [the limit ruled by Commissioner Frick]. If I were Maris or Mantle, I'd forget the 154-game ruling and concentrate on hitting 61 homers in 162 games. If either breaks the record after the deadline set by the commissioner, who's going to deny the honor?"


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