December 11, 1959 is a day of infamy for Kansas City sports fans of a certain age. On that day, Kansas City traded Roger Maris to the New York Yankees. In addition to Maris, the Yankees received Joe DeMaestri and Kent Hadley. Kansas City got Norm Siebern, Don Larsen, Hank Bauer, and Marv (soon to become “Marvelous”) Throneberry.
After winning four pennants in a row, the Yankees had finished a distant third in 1959. Maris would help revive their fortunes, as they won five pennants in row starting in 1960. Indeed, he would be selected as the American League’s MVP not just in 1961, when he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record, but also in 1960.
During the 1959 off-season, the Chicago White Sox traded five quality players or prospects — Norm Cash, John Romano, Johnny Callision, Earl Battey, and Don Mincher — in the hope of bolstering their power hitting, acquiring Minnie Minoso, Gene Freese, and Roy Sievers. You might wonder why the White Sox didn’t package a few of the players they dealt in a trade for Maris. After all, it was no secret that Maris, then 25 years old, was probably going to be a big star.
However, in those days it seemed that the Yankees had first dibs on any Kansas City player.
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