JAN 2010: THE BASEBALL GURU ARTICLE FROM
THE MAN WHO HIT 61 HOMERUNS...SORT OF
He was a gargantuan man, both in his physique and in his appetite for life. If Babe Ruth had not come first than Jimmy Foxx would have been The Bambino and The Sultan of Swat. Possessed of incredible strength, his homerun prowess was legendary. His career seems to have mirrored the Babes. He had great homerun power, a penchant for wine, women, and song. Money filtered through his fingers, he exhibited a good natured friendliness to everyone, and a charisma that extended past the baseball diamond.
1932 was one of his banner years. In that season he hit more homeruns in the Major Leagues than anyone before or since (up until recent times). He hit 66 of them, five more than Roger Maris ..the drawback being that eight of them didnt count! Heres why.
In 1932 Jimmy Foxx ended up officially with 58 homeruns, the third highest in the history of the game for a single season. He did this during a schedule of 154 games and despite having an injured wrist.
What is generally not known are the eight homeruns he lost because of various circumstances, When Babe Ruth set the then record for a season of 60 in 1927 he did so without a screen that was erected in St Louis after 1927.
Jimmy Foxx hit that screen five times in 1932. This has been authenticated from the newspaper accounts of that time. Also, just before the 1932 season a fence was put up in the leftfield area in Municipal Stadium in Cleveland. Ruth got some of his record breaking homeruns in 1927 in that spot as well as in the rightfield area in St. Louis. Newspaper reports indicate that Foxx hit the leftfield fence that year at least three times. There were some oldtimers who claimed he may have done it more than that. Putting all those lost home runs together they add up to a total of eight. This would have given him 66 round trippers, 5 more than Roger Maris and his 1961 total. By the way, speaking of Maris, I distinctly remember him hitting a homerun during the 61 season that was rained out in the fourth inning and so it didnt count. If that game had been official Maris would have tied Ruths record within the regulation 154 games.
Jimmy Foxx was certainly one of the greatest players in the history of the game. However it would have been nice if he could also have been known as the man who hit the most homeruns in the game for one season.
As we have said before in One More Inning, What If?