Before Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and allegations of steroid use, there was Roger Maris, a chain-smoking outfielder who set baseball's single-season home run record in 1961. Maris, with his patented crew cut, accomplished the feat as a New York Yankee. Before he donned the pinstripes, Maris played for the Kansas City Athletics. The Athletics shuttled Maris to New York in exchange for legendary pitcher Don Larsen (he threw the only perfect game in World Series history), Norm Siebern and an aging Hank Bauer. The Yankees also got Joe DeMaestri and Kent Hadley in the trade [source: Knapel].
In 1961, Maris set baseball on fire. Teamed with Mickey Mantle, the "M & M Boys," as they were dubbed, chased after Babe Ruth's celebrated single-season home run mark of 60. Mantle and Maris battled each other until Mantle dropped out of the race early due to an injury. Maris tied Ruth's record on Sept. 26, and surpassed the Sultan of Swat on the final day of the season. He was voted the American League's Most Valuable Player [source: RogerMaris.com]. McGwire broke Maris's record in 1998, later admitting in 2010 that he used performance-enhancing drugs during the season.