In 1961 the American League schedule was lengthened by eight games to 162, and it was about this time that summer that the commissioner –– of whom it was once written, "An empty cab drove up to the curb and Ford Frick got out" –– declared that even if some player broke Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs, it would not count if he needed more games than Ruth had had.
So, when Roger Maris hit his 61st in the last game of the longer season, the distinction did not displace Ruth in the record books but was merely listed along with The Babe's lesser number.
The best players in major league baseball take the field tonight in New York. Fans voted for their favorites in the American and National Leagues. The All-Star game is an exhibition - or mostly an exhibition - and there is a real prize. The winner gets home-field advantage during the World Series. The game also offers a chance to check on how teams are doing midway through the season.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Here to talk all things baseball is NPR's Mike Pesca. Good morning.
It's the fourth most popular sport in the United States and more than 30 million people play it in the United States and Canada. Around 13 percent of Americans played it in 2012. There are hundreds of variations across multiple sports, but football is by far the most popular.
Track and field is a sport of power and speed, and also one with a checkered history when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs. In the past, it has seen Olympians like Ben Johnson and Marion Jones stripped of medals in doping scandals. Now yesterday, the sport hit a new low. Three well-known athletes from sprinting powers Jamaica and the United States announced that they had tested positive for banned drugs.
Joining me to talk about this is NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman. Hey, Tom.
Greg Van Niel is a Cleveland Indians season-ticket holder. But curiously, he wasn't sitting in his usual seat when he grabbed four foul balls at Sunday's game at Progressive Field against the Kansas City Royals.
He accomplished his feat by the fifth inning while sitting in Row FF, Section 160, Seat 3.
"Three of them were catches, and one was a ball I picked up off the ground," Van Niel told the team, according to tribevibe on mlblogs.com.
Derek Jeter was back in the Yankees lineup last week after breaking his ankle in the 2012 playoffs. A few at-bats later, he was out with a strained quadricep. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin talks with NPR's Mike Pesca about how much difference this one player can make on the baseball diamond.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. I'm going to be on vacation for a couple of weeks and after today's show. You know what I'm going to miss? Our crew here and the chance to say: Time for sports.
Calling road cycling "one of the worst offenders" in gender inequity, four elite female athletes have created a petition to ask the sport's hallmark event, the Tour de France, to include women next year. Citing the inclusion of women at the world's top marathons, the petition's authors say, "After a century, it is about time women are allowed to race the Tour de France, too."