Roger Maris: The Record That Was Nearly Prevented

May 8, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

Here is the partial transcript of a journal of Mr. Hiram Jeramiah Whitson, who lived about 10 miles from Brighton, MA. Only the entries which include information about Roger Maris are included. The journal was bought in an estate sale of Polly Whitson, his daughter in 2004.

July 10, 1961

It is the all star break and I am glad because I feel myself getting too attached to the game. I can’t seem to quit following it, to a fault. It is cloudy and depressing today in Brighton. These kind of days do me no good whatsoever.
I wish it would rain. Maris hit his 33rd yesterday and is on a helluva pace. Everytime you read the papers someone is comparing him to Babe. Ridiculous. Maris isn’t half the player Babe was.

July 24, 1961

The sun is shining brightly today, everything is fine. I even cleaned out the gutters this evening. I have to remember to give Jim back his circular saw. Maris is still on a tare (sic). He can’t beat Babe’s record, he just can’t.

August 8, 1961

Cloudy out again, but really hot. Another one of those depressing days, I wish they would go away. Sometimes I would just like to stay in my room and sleep the time away. Roger fu**ing Maris and Mantle both are threatening to break Babe’s HR record. I’d sure rather see Mick do it if someone has to. Who the hell is Maris?

August 28, 1961

51 HR’s. That sonofab**ch has hit 51 homers. He is going to break the record. I know he is. I don’t know if I could stand for that. Babe was the best ever. Maris isn’t worthy to tie Babe’s shoes. It’s raining outside and I hate my life and everybody in it. I saw that same guy at the store yesterday. He seems too friendly. Maybe something is up?

Sept. 20, 1961

I don’t feel well at all today. My head aches, my eyes feel like they have a lot of pressure inside. Cloudy and just a little cool today. Too cool for this time in September in Brighton. The damn guy has 58 now and it looks like he’s gonna do it. I am at my end with this whole thing.
Mantle got hurt and can’t break the record so now it’s just up to Maris. If he breaks it I don’t know what I’ll do. He is coming to Boston on the 23rd. So will I. I’ll see to it that he doesn’t break it.
By God, if he would get whacked he wouldn’t break it. I’ll take my 9mm and pop him right there in right field. I can get a seat just behind Pesky’s Pole, put a silencer on it and pick him off like a grouse. He won’t even know what hit him.

(According to records, Whitson was killed on Sept. 22 when he was struck by a bus in downtown Brighton at 3:00 in the afternoon.)


NOTE:  This story is fiction.  It was a series of thoughts that went through my mind when McGwire broke Roger’s record.  I thought it would be interesting to write an article about “what if”.    –  CEE

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