Roger Maris just lost an RBI from 49 years ago, though he did pick up sole possession of the 1961 American League runs title.
The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) has discovered two errors in scoring from the ’61 season that affect Maris and Mickey Mantle. The world may have been paying attention to the M&M Boys chasing Babe Ruth’s record for home runs in a single season, but everyone overlooked a pair of small items that have now been corrected.
Maris was originally credited with a league-leading 142 RBIs, but he was erroneously awarded one in a July 5 game against the Indians at Yankee Stadium, where the run scored on an error. That now gives Maris 141 RBIs, which ties him with the Orioles’ Jim Gentile for the AL title.
Mantle was issued one run scored too many because of an official scorer’s error in filling out the sheet filed to the league office for a Sept. 10 contest, the second game of a doubleheader against the Indians in New York. That run should have been credited to Moose Skowron, so Mantle loses a run scored and drops to 131. Maris now stands alone in that category with a Major League-leading 132 runs.
The facts were uncovered through SABR’s painstaking analysis of box scores, newspaper reports and other data from that year, including pulling out the old score sheets of beat writers from that era. Retrosheet, Baseball-Reference, Baseball Almanac, and the Elias Sports Bureau all now recognize these numbers. More information on the changes is available on baseball-reference.com’s blog