Sal Durante Obituary, Death – Sal Durante, who was known for catching the ball that Roger Maris hit for his 61st home run, has passed away. Roger Maris Jr. shared the information with his followers on Twitter. Maris Jr. said on Twitter early Friday morning that “Sal Durante, the guy who caught my dad’s 61st home run, passed away yesterday night.” “Sal was the epitome of a gentleman and was devoted to the Yankees. Because of the momentous events that occurred on October 1, 1961, Sal and my father will have a connection to one another for the rest of their lives. Sincere condolences from everyone in the Maris family to the Durante family on their recent loss.
On that fateful day in 1961, Durante was on a double date with Rosemarie, and they were sitting in the right field bleachers at the old Yankee Stadium to watch the Yankees play the Red Sox. According to comments made by Durante to The Seattle Times in 2016, “I heard the crack of the bat and saw it coming toward the right-field bleachers where we were seated.” “I sprang up on my seat and reached as high as I could, and the ball smacked into the palm of my bare hand,” the narrator said. “I was not expecting that.” At the time, Durante was working as a truck driver in Brooklyn at the age of 19, and he later switched to working as a school bus driver in New York City. Approximately eight years ago, Rosemarie passed away.
Maris’ mark of 61 home runs stood as the record for the big leagues until it was broken by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998, and then again by Barry Bonds in 2001, when he hit 73 home runs. Maris was widely thought to be the genuine record-holder until Aaron Judge slugged 62 home runs during the previous season. This was due to the fact that those three players were severely accused of using performance-enhancing drugs. Maris was waiting for Durante in the Yankees’ locker room after Durante caught the ball during the game. Maris encouraged Durante to keep it and sell it rather than hand it over to the slugger, even though Durante would have been pleased to do so.
“Keep it, youngster. Put it up for auction, Durante recalled Maris instructing him, as he reflected on the conversation. “Someone is going to offer you a substantial sum of money for the ball. After keeping it for a few of days, he’ll eventually hand it on to me. Sam Gordon, a restaurateur in California, paid Durante $5,000 for the ball, which is equivalent to nearly $50,000 in today’s money. Eventually, the ball found its way to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, where it is on display. In September, when Judge was attempting to break Maris’ record for most home runs in the American League, The Post spoke to Durante’s son, Tom, who stated that his father, who was 80 years old at the time, had been afflicted with dementia.
“He still had, and to this day he still has, all of his images of him and Maris spread out around the house. Tom Durante said that he would bring it up in conversation. “Up until very recently, if we questioned him about it, he would have known the answers to our inquiries. Around one and a half months ago, he experienced a total mental shutdown.