1961 saw some great feats by various Yankees. Roger Maris’ 61 HR, surpassing Babe Ruth’s 60; the combined total of 115 between Maris and Mickey Mantle broke the Ruth/Gehrig teammate record of 107. Whitey Ford went 25-4, 3.21 and broke Babe Ruth’s World Series record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched. Elston Howard hit .348. Johnny Blanchard had a great season off the bench. The team hit a then-record 240 HR (no DH then, too).
One feat that is much overlooked is the year that Luis Arroyo had. The reason for that may be this: the save didn’t become an official statistic for Major League Baseball until 1969. As such, no one knew in 1961 that Arroyo broke a record.
Looking at baseballreference.com, we see that Firpo Marberry of Washington, one of the first great relievers, “saved” 22 games in 1926. I use the quotes because this is all in retrospect, due to what I mentioned in the previous paragraph—that saves didn’t become an official stat until 1969.
Marberry held this “record” until 1949, when Joe Page (a future “Classic Yankee” piece?) “saved” 27 games. Ellis Kinder tied the “record” ..read more