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Roger Maris Takes a Pay Cut

Dec. 19, 1963 - Roger Maris, who in the past has taken his own good time in signing his contract, pulled a switch today. The Yankees’ slugging outfielder, who spent almost half the 1963 season nursing an assortment of injuries, not only became the second Bomber to accept terms for 1964 — Whitey Ford was the first — but he even took a pay cut. He took it gracefully too, considering it was his first since he broke into the majors with the Cleveland Indians in 1957. Although the terms were not disclosed, it is understood that Roger signed for $65,000. This would represent a 10% cut from the $72,000 salary he rocketed to after his record-shattering 61-homer campaign in 1961. He drew the same salary last season even though his homer output in 1962 dropped to 33. Reached by phone at his home in Independence, Mo., Maris conceded his pay slash had been “fair.” “The kind of season I had last year didn’t rate me a raise, or even the same money,” he said. “It’s the first cut I ever took. I hope I can win it back, but I sure can’t try any harder than last season.” And how was he feeling physically? “I feel fine,” he said. “I’ve been playing golf, mostly for the walking, and I’m down to 202 pounds. None of the old injuries are giving me trouble. Even those back pains have disappeared. They went away following the pulling of an abscessed tooth. That could have been the cause of all the trouble.” Said Yankee general manager Ralph Houk: “I have a feeling he’s going all out to come back with a big year. In fact, I’m certain he would have had a great season in 1963 but for those injuries. That first one really threw him.” That first one came on April 1 in an exhibition game in Lakeland, Fla., when he tore his left hamstring making a sensational diving catch and missed the first seven games of the season. Nine more mishaps followed. In July, he underwent minor surgery. His last injury came in the second World Series game when he crashed into the right-field railing and bruised his left forearm trying to catch Tommy Davis’s triple. That finished him for the Series.


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