61 in ‘61

Chief curator Daniel Piazza shares intimate knowledge, little-known facts and secrets about the stories told in “Baseball: America’s Home Run,” highlighting some of the spectacular objects on display, including discussions with key lenders to the exhibition on artifacts never-before displayed for pubic view.

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I'm Dan Piazza, curator of the National Postal Museum exhibition, Baseball: America's Home Run, on view until January 2025.

Join me for an inside look at some of the most exciting objects from this blockbuster show that explores America's national pastime through stamps, mail and memorabilia.

Celebrate the Century was a series of 150 U.S. postage stamps issued between 1998 and 2000.

Each decade of the 20th century was represented by a sheet of 15 stamps featuring major events that influenced American history, art, or culture.

Seven baseball moments were highlighted across six decades, ranging from the first World Series in 1903 to setting new baseball records in the 1990s.

A 1960 stamp commemorates the race between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle to break Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs in a single season set in 1927.

Let's take a closer look.

Maris and Mantle both quested after home run number 61 throughout 1961, until Mantle developed season-ending hip problems in September.

Maris continued alone finally achieving the record in the last game of the regular season.

But not everyone cheered.

He had vanquished baseball's greatest hero and a record that Yankee fans believed would stand forever, and many resented him for it.

Baseball commissioner Ford Frick famously threw shade by pointing out that seasons were shorter in Ruth's day and Maris had needed the extra  at-bats.

Nonetheless, only three players have since broken Maris's record and all of them were implicated in the 1990s steroid scandal.

For more on the intersection of postal and baseball history visit the National Postal Museum exhibition, Baseball: America's Home Run, online at postalmuseum.si.edu/baseball

Baseball: America’s Home Run