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A Cooperstown campaign

Rosemount High School graduate Colin McCann is pictured at Roger Maris’ grave. McCann is leading a campaign to get the former Major League star into the baseball Hall of Fame.

Colin McCann has always been interested in baseball, but it was in eighth grade his interest really took off. The 19-year-old Dakota County Technical College freshman, a 2014 graduate of Rosemount High School, has been leading a campaign for the induction of Yankees player Roger Maris into the Baseball Hall of Fame since his high school graduation.

When McCann was in eighth grade, his parents bought him Roger Maris’ biography film, 61*. That was where it all started. Soon after, McCann visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, and saw the ball Maris hit for his then-record 61st home run. At that point, McCann knew he wanted Maris to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and that he was going to be one of the people to make it happen.

Maris held the record for the most home runs in a single season for 37 years after hitting 61 in 1961. The record still stands in the American League. Despite suffering many injuries throughout his career, Maris had 1,300 hits and a .260 batting average. McCann admires Maris’ athletic skills, but he also admires his strength and character.

“He was a good and decent man,” said McCann.

McCann said he admires Maris for withstanding all the pressure he went through during the 1961 season. Maris received media scrutiny as well as death threats, and had to be thousands of miles away from his wife and kids.

“He may not have the greatest comparable stats, but he makes up for that because of who he was as a person,” said McCann.

Maris died 30 years ago, and never got to see his records broken.

After graduating from RHS, McCann started to devote much of his time to campaigning for Maris. His goal is to get Maris on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot.

McCann created a campaign page on Facebook in 2006, and by now the page has gotten 1,180 likes, including likes from India and South America. McCann said it is really an international page with support from all over the world. McCann also created an online petition that currently has over 700 signatures. His goal for the petition is to reach 3,000 signatures by 2018.

McCann has been promoting his petition since his graduation last year. He has contacted some of Maris’ friends, visited Maris’ hometown of Fargo, and seen Maris’ grave site. His petition has been promoted on the Fargo radio show “It Takes Two with Jack and Amy,” and one of the co-hosts contacted McCann to call in and talk about it on the show.

“I think he had a really great career — when you take away all his injuries. He had a great career, and he belongs in the Hall of Fame,” said McCann. “This guy has been overlooked for a long time.”

As well as campaigning for Roger Maris, McCann is part of a Facebook group and petition that is trying to change the election process for Hall of Fame inductions to be more fair, since McCann figures mathematically there is only a 1.5 percent chance of any one player getting elected.

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