"Fifty-six," Maris corrected. "What are you trying to do? Shortchange me?" Then he marched into the players' lounge to watch television.
A fringe of Hurricane Carla arrived in Chicago on Tuesday, Sept. 12, shortly after the Yankees. The game had to be called in the bottom of the sixth, when a downpour hit Comiskey Park. Maris had come to bat four times and gone homerless. Reporters asked him if he'd had good pitches to hit.
"I didn't get too many strikes," Maris said. "But they were called strikes. Soar had me swinging in self-defense."
The next day's newspapers headlined that casual, typical ballplayer's gripe. Maris was shocked and horrified. Until that moment he had not fully realized the impact his words now carried. Until that moment he had not fully realized the price one must pay for being a hero. He was upset, withdrawn. Tortured would be too strong a word, but only slightly. He showed his hurt by saying little; his mouth appeared permanently set in its hard line. He hit no home runs in Chicago, and when the Yankees moved on to Detroit, he hit none in a twi-night doubleheader.
That was the night he declined to meet the press. His brother, Rudy, a mechanical engineer, had driven from his home in Cincinnati to see the games, and later Roger and Rudy sat in the trainer's room, from which reporters are barred. "Get him out," a reporter told Bob Fishel, the Yankee publicity director.
Fishel talked briefly to Maris. "He says he's not coming out," Fishel announced. "He says he's been ripped in every city he's been in, and he's not coming out."
"Rog won't come out," a reporter told Houk.
"That's his business," Houk said.
"Why can't we go in and talk to him, and his brother can?"
"Are you trying to tell me how to run my clubhouse?" Houk said, flaring. "Is that what you're trying to do?"