NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Chris Davis says he’s chasing baseball’s true single-season home run leader: Roger Maris.
“In my opinion, 61 is the record,” the Baltimore Orioles slugger said Monday from the All-Star festivities at Citi Field. “And I think most fans agree with me on that.”
Davis leads all players with 37 home runs at the All-Star break. He’s on pace for — you guessed it — 62.
Maris beat Babe Ruth’s long-standing record of 60 homers during the final game of the Yankees’ season in 1961. That stood until the great home run race of 1998, when Mark McGwire hit 70 and Sammy Sosa had 66. Barry Bonds currently holds the record, hitting 73 out of the park in 2001.
Maris’ mark now sits at No. 7 on the list.
Bonds, Sosa and McGwire share the top six spots, though all have been accused of PED use during baseball’s Steroids Era.
“The chase in ’98, at the time, was one of the most exciting things in all of sports,” Davis said. “It was obviously disheartening to find out down the road what came out about all of that.”
Not everyone agrees that 61 is the real record.
“I see it as 73, but that’s just me and I’m sure everyone has their own opinion,” Royals star Alex Gordon said, according to the New York Post. “Barry Bonds was pretty special. I know what people say he did, but it’s still pretty amazing to hit 73 home runs.”
“The record is 73, no matter how you look at it,” Orioles teammate Adam Jones said. “That’s what it is.”
Torii Hunter wouldn’t go there with USA Today: “I’m staying away from that one, boy. That’s a hot tamale. Barry’s 73, Mark McGwire’s 70 … that was impressive. I know you guys know that was a different era, I don’t know what era you call it, I definitely think what Barry and Mark McGwire and Sammy were all linked, but that’s impressive. I don’t care what they did, cheated or whatever. You still got to hit the ball.”
Davis, who finished fourth in Monday night’s Home Run Derby, set a career high of 33 long balls in 2012. He’s faced questions about performance-enhancing drugs due to this season’s eye-popping numbers.
“I think any time you’re being asked about something, you want to be open and honest about it. I’ve got nothing to hide,” he said. “I want people to know that. I want people to feel like they can get behind me.”
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