Feb 6, 2010, 3:45 PM EDT
The great city of Fargo, North Dakota has had all it can stands and it can’t stands no more!
The owners of Fargo-based sign company Newman Outdoor Advertising have finally had enough with how an admitted steroid cheat like Mark McGwire and an alleged steroid cheat Barry Bonds have bastardized and tarnished the legacy of one of their own, Roger Maris. Newman Outdoor Advertising has erected two billboards in Fargo to pay homage to their hometown hero, who they feel should be returned to his rightful place of prominence and be regarded as Major League Baseball’s legitimate and deserving single season home run king with 61 performance-enhancing-less round-trippers in 1961.
First, a larger look at the billboard.
Nice. The best thing about the sign is that since it’s in Fargo, the sign can be seen from miles. You see, Fargo is dreadfully flat and has a surprising lack of trees and foliage. Trust me, as a person who spent two years during my youth living in West Fargo, I can attest to relative accuracy of the “joke” that in North Dakota, you can still see your dog running away the next day.
Nevertheless, you have to give credit to Fargo for defending the honor of their native son, who passed away in 1985 but whose children became attractions on the national stage when McGwire was pursuing and then shattering their dad’s record in 1998.
Maris has repeatedly never been given proper credit for his achievements as a ballplayer. In fact, Maris is not a member of the Hall of Fame.
Newman, son of the firm’s owner, hopes the billboards will serve as a kind of public lobbying campaign to get Maris into the Hall of Fame. Some national attention wouldn’t hurt, either, he added.
“We haven’t given up hope on the Hall of Fame,” he said.
Maris, famously troubled during and after his home run feat, already has been honored in Fargo, where he grew up.
The Roger Maris Museum at a Fargo shopping mall is a “permanent shrine to a reluctant hero” and features artifacts from his career.
Allow me to state my opinion that I am completely behind the movement to properly recognize Maris’ accomplishments and think it is phenomenal that Fargoians (?) are proud of his legacy. Despite Maris’ career numbers not necessarily measuring up to Hall of Fame standards, he is a source of tremendous pride for all North Dakotans. You have to remember, we simpletons living in flyover country have to find something we can be proud of.
Billboards tout the 61 in ’61 clubbed by Maris, “Fargo’s golden boy” [Star Tribune]
Bonds and McGwire Should Stay Away From Fargo, ND For a While [Last Angry Fan]
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