Tracy Stallard came out of a coalmining area of Virginia/West Virginia and started pitching in the majors for the Boston Red Sox back in the time when Carl Yastrzemski was a rookie, 1961, and the Sox leading pitchers were Bill Monbouquette and Don Schwall.
As a rookie Tracy Stallard posted a 2-7 record with a 4.88 earned run average in 1961 as the Red Sox finished in sixth place in the then 10-team, one division American League. 1961 is also the year in which Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single season record of 60 homers. Which brings us to the following event:
The lanky 6 ft 5 inch, 204-pound rookie Tracy Stallard made his mark in baseball history by delivering a two balls and no strike fastball to Roger Maris in the fourth inning of the last game of the 1961 season, game number 162. Maris swung hard and lined the ball into the right field stands of old Yankee Stadium for a record breaking sixty first home run of the season, one homer above the number 60 set by baseball legend Babe Ruth back in 1927. The record-setting baseball was caught by a fan named Sal Durante.
In 1961 the New York Yankees set a major league record with 240 home runs. And, according to Tracy Stallard, ‘I didn’t know I was starting until I arrived at Yankee Stadium. My biggest concern was not to walk anybody.’ ‘If you gave up a homer, it was 1-0,’ he recalled. ‘If you walked someone, it was probably 2-0.’
The Yankees won the game 1-0.
Years later, when Tracy Stallars ran a coal mine business he said, ‘I’m glad I gave up the homer. I’m happy for Roger Maris 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 coalmines out here. You’d never hear about me.