Joe DiMaggio

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Courtesy of kimball.k12.sd.us

Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio was born November 25, 1914, in Martinez, California to Italian immigrants who made their living by fishing. He quit school at 14 and at 17 joined his brother Vincent. They began playing baseball with the minor league San Francisco Seals. Joe's contract with San Francisco was purchased by the New York Yankees, and he was brought up to the major leagues in 1936. Joe, making his pro debut on October 1, 1932, it turned out, couldn't play short, but he could hit. In his rookie season with the Yankees he batted .323 during the regular season and .346 against the New York Giants during the World Series.

In 1937 DiMaggio led the American League in home runs and runs scored, and in 1939 and 1940 he led the American League in batting, with averages of .381 and .352. DiMaggio was a very consistent hitter; early in his career, during his 1933 season with the Seals, he had a hitting streak of 61 consecutive games. His consistency led to one of the most remarkable records of major league baseball—DiMaggio's feat of hitting safely in 61 consecutive games. With the exception of DiMaggio's streak, no player has hit in more than 44 consecutive games since. In addition to his fine hitting ability, DiMaggio had outstanding skill as a fielder, tying the American League fielding record in 1947 with only one error in 141 games. He played the outfield so well that many people called him lazy for not trying. At the end of the day, he always made the plays.

Between 1936 and 1951 DiMaggio helped the Yankees to nine World Series titles—in 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1950, and 1951. During the same period the Yankees won 10 American League championships (the Yankees won the pennant but not the World Series in 1942.) DiMaggio missed three seasons serving in the military during World War II. He amassed 361 homers, averaged 118 RBI annually, compiled a .325 lifetime BA, and struck out only 369 times. He won two batting crowns.

DiMaggio received the Most Valuable Player Award for the American League in 1939, 1941, and 1947. He retired at the end of the 1951 season. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. DiMaggio is the only athlete in North American pro sports history to be on four World Championship teams in his first 4 full seasons. In total, he led the Yankees to 9 titles in 13 years. On February 7, 1949, DiMaggio became the first pro athlete to sign for $100,000. He was still regarded as the game's best player, but mounting injuries got to the point where he couldn't take a step without pain. A sub-par 1951 season and a brutal scouting report made by the Brooklyn Dodgers that was turned over to the NL champ New York Giants and leaked to the press convinced him to announce his retirement on December 11, 1951, turning center field over to Mickey Mantle.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces on February 17, 1943, and rose to the rank of Sergeant. While fellow superstars Ted Williams and Bob Feller saw action, DiMaggio's popularity was such it was feared that if he was put in harm's way and killed, it would devastate morale. He was stationed at Santa Ana, California, Hawaii, and Atlantic City as a physical education instructor during his 31-month stint, and played baseball.

In 1954 DiMaggio married film star Marilyn Monroe—this only added to his iconic status in American culture. Though this marriage lasted less than a year, the couple remained close until her death in 1962. In his retirement he acted as a spokesman for commercial concerns and worked for charitable causes. The lustre of his career remained undimmed at his death; he was loved by fans as much for his integrity and dignity as for his phenomenal playing skills.

DiMaggio was immortalized in the Ernest Hemingway novella The Old Man and the Sea and the Simon and Garfunkel song "Mrs Robinson" (from The Graduate). "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio" - a song about his 1941 hitting streak by Les Brown and his Band of Reknown - was a big hit. He was admired by his peers for being a consummate professional, refusing to rest on his natural skills, working constantly to improve, and playing in spite of tremendous pain and debilitating injuries. On July 21, 1969, he was named the game's greatest living player at a gala All-Star Game banquet. The tragic conclusion of his relationship with Monroe not only enhanced his status with the public, but his refusal to "cash in" earned him a reputation as being a man of unusual decency and integrity. The Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital opened on September 19, 1992, for which he raised over $4,000,000.

DiMaggio died of complications from lung cancer surgery at his home in Hollywood, Florida, and is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, California. A monument was dedicated to DiMaggio in Yankee Stadium on April 25, 1999.

Joe_DiMaggio_and_Marilyn_Monroe_wedding_on_the_cover_of_Newsweek.jpeg
Courtesy of destinyland.net




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBeV8khJL78

Bibliography

"Joe Dimaggio Biography - Life, Parents, Story, History, Young, Son, Old, Information, Born, Contract, House, Time." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Web. 31 May 2011. <http://www.notablebiographies.com/De-Du/Dimaggio-Joe.html>.
--> I used this source to obtain the statistics for Joe's career. This site showed his hits, averages, and runs.

"Joe DiMaggio (I) - Biography." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 31 May 2011. <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0227154/bio>.
--> I used this source to find out about Joe DiMaggio's early life. I learned about how he started and his parents.

"Joe DiMaggio Biography." Biography.com. Web. 31 May 2011. http://www.biography.com/articles/Joe-DiMaggio-9274899.
--> I used this source to learn about DiMaggio's life after his baseball career. I learned of his relations with Marilyn Monroe and more.

"When Joe DiMaggio Asked Paul Simon about His Mrs. Robinson Lyrics." Destiny-land. Web. 02 June 2011.
http://destinyland.net/Joe_DiMaggio_vs_Paul_Simon_and_Garfunkel.htm.
--> This was one of the pictures on this site. The first picture of Joe.

"Untitled Document." Kimball Kiotes. Web. 02 June 2011.
<http://www.kimball.k12.sd.us/fire/old1.htm>.
--> This was one of the pictures on this site. The magazine cover of Joe and Marilyn.