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45° Good Afternoon

Contest: Roger Maris

To whoever wins my copy of "Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero": Hang in there during the beginning. The start features a dizzying breakdown of the Maris family tree, and you can get lost in it.

Kudos to the authors, Tom Clavin and Danny Peary, for all of their research. It just gets a little confusing, is all.

Stick around because, after the authors turn away from Maris' ancestors and toward Maris himself, the book is terrific. This is one of the best portrayals of a famous athlete that I've ever read.

Maris wasn't comfortable with his fame as a player, and by reading this, you get a sense of why that was. How messed up his parents were, and how Roger felt a sense of guilt because his older brother - just as talented as Roger when they were young, or at least Roger thought so - never approached the success that Roger did.

There's also a great deal here about Maris' relationship with the New York media, which seems to have started at tepid and deteriorated to terrible. I thought this seemed overstated when portrayed this way in Billy Crystal's HBO movie "61*," but maybe it really was this bad. I can envision it. 

In any case, I'll indeed give my copy of this book to the first person who e-mails me - at - with the correct answer to this question:

You know that Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961, and that Mickey Mantle finished second in the American League that season with 54.

Two players tied for third place with 46. Name those two players.

--UPDATE, 2:35 p.m.: We have a winner! J.S. knew that Jim Gentile and Harmon Killebrew hit 46 homers each in '61. 

New York Sports