Money: "I want enough for me and my family but I don't really care that much for money. I want security, but if I really cared about money I'd move to New York this winter, wouldn't I? That's where the real money is, isn't it? But I'm not moving to New York."
Frank Scott, the agent, who declared that Maris could earn $500,000 by hitting 60 homers in 154 games: "It's a business relationship between Scott and me, that's all. He lines up something good, and I say O.K."
Fame: "It's good and it's bad. It's good being famous, but I can't do the things I like any more. Like bulling with the writers. I like to go out in public and be recognized a little. Hell, I'm proud to be a ballplayer. But I don't like being busted in on all the time and now, when I go out, I'm busted in on all the time."
Cheers: "I don't tip my cap. I'd be kind of embarrassed to. I figure the fans who cheer me know I appreciate it."
His current plight: "I'm on my own all the way and I'm the same me I was, and Mickey is, too. Once in a while, maybe, it makes me go into a shell, but most of the time"—pride stirs in his voice—"I'm exactly the same as I was."
Pressure: "I don't feel a damn thing once the game starts. I honestly don't. But before the game, and afterward, the writers and the photographers and the questions. That's pressure. That's hard. In the game it's the same as always. I been taking my swings. I've had some good swings, but I've fouled some good pitches back. I'm not losing any sleep, or anything like that, but I'm damn tired and when the season ends, I'm going right home and rest."
Houk on Maris
Ralph Houk, the manager of the Yankees, won a silver star and a purple heart in Europe during World War II and so is familiar with pressure. Of Maris he said, "I'd say it really got bad for him in Minneapolis. I'd say it began, you know, real bad, when we were out there." Houk paused. "Some funny things happen," he said. "Remember at the Stadium when the Indians knocked out Whitey Ford in the second inning? I was worried. His leg was bothering him and Ford is a hell of a Series pitcher. So when the game was over I started figuring what I'd tell the writers when they asked me what was wrong with Ford. You know something? Nobody asked." Ford himself, a worldly young man, added, "It's the damnedest thing. All my life I've been trying to win 20. This year I win 24, and all anybody asks me about is home runs." Ford's tone was pleasant, a trifle puzzled but not angry.
When the Yankees arrived in Minneapolis on that trip late in August, Maris had 51 homers and Mantle 46. Both were comfortably ahead of Ruth's record pace, and both had to share uncomfortable amounts of attention.
A chartered bus appeared in front of the Hotel Radisson well in advance of each game to carry the Yankees to Memorial Stadium. The downtown area of Minneapolis is compact and the bus served as a signal to hundreds of Minneapolitans. As soon as it appeared, they herded into the hotel lobby. "Seen Rog?" they asked. "Where's Mick?" Enterprising children posted a watch on the eighth floor, where many of the Yankees were quartered. When Maris or Mantle approached the elevator, a child scout would sprint down eight flights and shout to the lobby, "Here they come." (Fortunately for the child scout, the elevators were unhurried relics of a more leisurely time.)