Tracy Stallard, who served up Roger Maris’ 61st home run on the last day of the 1961 season, died on Wednesday in Kingsport, Tennessee, according to The New York Times. He was 80.
The death was confirmed by Buford G. Sturgille Funeral home in Wise, Tennessee, according to the Times.
Stallard, 24, was in his first full major-league season when Maris broke Babe Ruth’s record of 60 homers set with the 1927 Yankees. “I’m not going to lose any sleep over it,” Stallard said after pitching the first seven innings in the Yankees’ 1-0 win over the Red Sox. “I’d rather he hit the homer off me than I walk him.”
On the 30th anniversary of Maris’ 61st home run, Stallard told Newsday, “I’m glad it happened. I’m happy for Roger and I’m happy for me. If it weren’t for that home run, it would be like I was buried in one of those coal mines out here. You’d never hear about me.”
Stallard was the losing pitcher in the game in which the Phillies’ Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game against the Mets in 1964. He went 10-20 that season.