Joe Dimaggio Essay, Research Paper
“Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you. What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson? Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away.”
( “Mrs. Robinson,” Simon and Garfunkel). On March 8, 1999 with the passing of Joe DiMaggio America may have lost one of the great baseball players and American symbols of our time. Baseball has produced many icons, but it has only produced one Joe DiMaggio.
” I would like to take the great DiMaggio fishing. They say his father was a fisherman. Maybe he was as poor as we are and would understand,” is what Earnest Hemingway wrote about DiMaggio and his family. Joe, the eighth of nine children, was born Nov. 25, 1914, in Martinez, California, a small fishing village twenty-five miles northeast of San Francisco. The next year, his father moved them to San Francisco because he heard the fishing was better in their waters. Zio Pepe, as DiMaggio’s father was called, wanted his five sons to become fisherman like him, but only the oldest two did (Barra 2). Joe and brothers Vince and Dom became major league baseball players.
Joe spent three seasons with the San Francisco Seals baseball club, before having his contract bought by the New York Yankees for $25,000. While playing
For the Seals, Joe set a Pacific Coast League record by hitting safely in 61 consecutive games as a rookie in 1933. “Baseball didn’t really get into my blood until I knocked off that hitting streak,” DiMaggio said. “Getting a daily hit became more important to me than eating drinking, or sleeping. Overnight I became a personality.”(Gammons 20)
As a rookie with the Yankees, he was on the cover of Time magazine during the 1936 season. DiMaggio played thirteen seasons with the New York Yankees. He captured ten American League Pennants, leading the Yankees to nine world series titles, was a three time American Most Valuable Player and played in eleven all-star games. Twice he carried off the league batting crown, 1939 and 1940. He also led the league twice in homers, in 1937 and in 1948.
During the summer of 1941 DiMaggio captivated the nations attention with his record, 56-game hitting streak. It began on May 15 with a one for four game, and the Les Brown band recording “Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio,” a hit that was played all over the radio (Barra 5). Finally, on July 17, in front of a crowd of 67,468 in Cleveland, pitchers Al Smith and Jim Bagby Jr. Kept him hitless (Barra 5). DiMaggio’s streak is believed by many to be the greatest feat in the history of the game of baseball, and may never be beaten, for no player has yet to come close to that mark.
After his love affair with baseball, DiMaggio began on with Marilyn Monroe He was 39 and she was 27 when they married on January 14, 1954, despite, according to Gay Talese in Esquire magazine, “disharmony in temperament and time: he was tired of publicity, she was thriving on it; he was intolerant of tardiness, she was always late.”(Simon) When the marriage ended in divorce nine months later, DiMaggio and Monroe remained friends. This further enhanced his image. After her death in 1962, DiMaggio was the only person who cared enough to arrange a funeral. DiMaggio put flowers on Monroe’s grave once a week for twenty years after her death. He obviously loved Monroe because he never wanted to remarry.
” Joe DiMaggio is what you get when you build mystique on top of greatness,” said Ron Swoboda, the former Met who played a generation after DiMaggio. Joe was always careful and protective of his image, understanding that it was his legacy (Christopher). He proved to be the most enduring symbol of baseball greatness. From his retirement to his death, Joe retained his image as America’s ultimate hero. What American wouldn’t do anything to accomplish what Jolting Joe DiMaggio did- play center field for the Yankees and marry the sexiest woman on the planet?