NEW YORK -- Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles leads the major leagues with 37 home runs. He is on pace to hit 62, which would set a new single-season record.
According to him, anyway.
“In my opinion, 61 is the record,” Davis said Monday, “and I think most fans agree with me on that.”
Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961. The Maris record since has been eclipsed six times -- by Barry Bonds once, Mark McGwire twice and Sammy Sosa three times.
Bonds set the record of 73 in 2001. Bonds, McGwire and Sosa all have been linked to steroids; none has come close to election to the Hall of Fame.
Maris’ record stood until 1998, when McGwire and Sosa staged a spirited race that ended with McGwire at 70 home runs and Sosa at 66.
“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.”
Davis said he understands why some fans might question whether he, too, could be using performance-enhancing drugs. He insists he is not.
“I think there is no reason not to believe in me,” Davis said.