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Joe DiMaggio Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (53) | Personal Quotes (18)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 25 November 1914Martinez, California, USA
Date of Death 8 March 1999Hollywood, Florida, USA  (lung cancer)
Birth NameGiuseppe Paolo DiMaggio Jr.
Nicknames Joe D
Joltin' Joe
The Yankee Clipper
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Joe DiMaggio was simply the greatest all-around baseball player of his era, which was the last before integration changed the complexion of the game in the 1950s. As a New York baseball legend, "The Yankee Clipper" succeeded superstars Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and preceded Mickey Mantle. In his 15 year career from 1935 to 1951 (which was interrupted by three years spent in the Army during World War Two from 1943-45), DiMaggio won three Most Valuable Player awards and was named to the All-Star team thirteen times.

His 1936 Yankees team won the World Series his freshman year, as it did in 1937, '38 and '39. The four straight wins was a record that would be surpassed by the Yankees team of 1949-53, of which "Joltin' Joe was a member for their first three World Championships, retiring after the 1951 season due to incredible pain that he had stoically endured. Ultimately, he played in 10 World Series, of which the Yankees won an incredible nine. (Only Yogi Berra, his teammate from 1946-51, appeared on more world champions, winning 10 rings in 14 World Series.)

DiMaggio is the possessor of what many consider the one batting record that will never be breached: consecutive games hitting. From May 15 to July 17, 1941, he hit in 56 straight games. DiMaggio beat out the great Ted Williams of the Red Sox for the MVP award that year, even though Ted hit .406. DiMaggio also beat Williams for the MVP in 1947, when "The Slendid Splinter" won his second Triple Crown the year after he had led the Red Sox to their first World Series since Babe Ruth was a pitcher and utility outfielder for the BoSox in 1918. It was the tightest MVP contest in history not ending in a tie: DiMaggio racked up 202 points with eight first place votes while "Teddy Ballgame" collected 201 points with three first place votes. Such was the respect for DiMaggio, whose team won the pennant and the World Series, that he won over a Triple Crown winner! DiMaggio was a flawless outfielder, and considered the major cog that made the Yankees winners. He was the consummate team player in an era (the Depression and World War II) in which cooperation was emphasized to beat the economic doldrums and global fascism. Williams, in contrast, was fabled as a non-conformist and individualist derided for "playing for himself", playing to boost his statistics rather than "taking one for the team". He would not shake the negative associations of not being a "team player" and not winning a World Series until after the Youth Revolution of the 1960s made conformity passé and nonconformity the norm. But that lie in the future.

In the 1940s, he was easily the most popular man in what was then justifiably called "America's National Past-time". His popularity was so great that the U.S. Army would not let him go overseas during the war, lest he be killed or captured, and thus damage American morale. In 1949, DiMaggio signed with the first six-figure contract in the history of Major League Baseball, when the Yankees signed him for $100,000 per year. That year he was hampered by the bone spurs that would end his career prematurely. Despite excruciating pain, an injured DiMaggio came back from the disabled list to face the Red Sox, who had nearly won the pennant the year previously (losing in a one-game playoff to the Cleveland Indians) and were up by one game with two games left to play against the Yankees.

His injuries would limit him to 76 games that year, but he came back for the series. The torrid hitting of DiMaggio led the Yankees over the BoSox in both games, capturing the pennant (and the first of a record five straight World Series titles) for rookie Yankees manager Casey Stengel. In an era of genuine heroes, DiMaggio was the epitome of the genre. Such was his unique status that he retired after a mediocre 1951 season, in which he hit only .263 with 12 homers and 71 RBIs in 113 games (after hitting .301 with 32 homers and 122 RBIs in 139 games the previous year). Joe DiMaggio did not want to become an average player, playing out his string. He wanted to go out a champion, and he did.

Joe DiMaggio played his entire career in Yankee Stadium, the "House that Ruth Built", so called not only due to the Babe's great popularity, but also because the park was tailored to his left-handed power. Joe DiMaggio was a right-handed hitter in a park that was death to righties: left-center field at Yankee Stadium in 1937 was 457 feet deep (whereas now, it is 399 feet deep). As DiMaggio and Ted Williams aged, it became dogma that while Williams was the better hitter, DiMaggio was the better all-around player. However, it is interesting to note that outside of their home ballparks (and the left-handed hitting Williams's average was boosted at Fenway, which had been tailored for HMO), DiMaggio outhit Williams.

In 1969, a poll conducted to coincide with the centennial of major league baseball ranked him as baseball's greatest living player. The great Joe DiMaggio, whom many believe was the most perfect and most complete ballplayer of all time, would continue to be legendary, even if he had not married Marilyn Monroe, the love of his life, which is a whole 'nother story.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (2)

Marilyn Monroe (14 January 1954 - 31 October 1955) (divorced)
Dorothy Arnold (19 November 1939 - 12 May 1944) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (53)

A monument was dedicated to him in Yankee Stadium on April 25, 1999
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, 1955. Played for the American League's New York Yankees, 1936-1951 (except for military service, 1943-1945).
Holds the Major League Baseball record of hitting safely in 56 consecutive games (1941).
Never remarried after Marilyn Monroe's death.
Banned the Kennedys and Rat Packers from Marilyn Monroe's funeral.
His number 5 was retired by the New York Yankees.
The day after his 56 game hitting streak ended, DiMaggio embarked on a second streak that lasted 16 games. Had he hit in game #57, he would have had a 73 game hitting streak!
Became the subject of death threats while dating Myrna Fahey in 1964. The FBI determined the threats came from a patient at Agnews State Hospital (Santa Clara, CA) who could not bear to see DiMaggio with anyone other than Marilyn Monroe. In an irony, Monroe's mother, Gladys Baker, was a patient at Agnews when DiMaggio began dating Monroe.
Almost signed to write his memoirs with Joseph Durso, but backed out because he didn't want to talk about Marilyn Monroe. Durso went ahead and penned "DiMaggio: The Last American Knight." It was the closest DiMaggio ever came to cooperating with any of his biographers.
An estimated 20,000 well-wishers jammed the streets around San Francisco's Church of Sts. Peter's and Paul's to witness DiMaggio marry Dorothy Arnold.
Was sued by first wife Dorothy Arnold in June 1952 to get full custody of their son, claiming his now-girlfriend Marilyn Monroe posed a threat to the boy's morals. Suit was dismissed in February 1953.
Claimed Marilyn Monroe's body after her death, and arranged her funeral, paying for her casket and crypt, and was the only one of her former husbands to attend the funeral.
Diamond and platinum "eternity ring" DiMaggio gave to Marilyn Monroe after their marriage was auctioned by Christie's for $772,500. [October 1999]
Marilyn Monroe won an interlocutory decree from DiMaggio on 27 October 1954, but, under California law, the divorce was not finalized until exactly 1 year later.
Died at precisely 12:12 AM EST.
Wanted no money for his cameo in The First of May (1999), but SAG rules dictated he had to accept the minimum salary of $250 per day.
Vice-President of the Baltimore Orioles (1979 - 1988)
Executive Vice-President and batting instructor for the Oakland A's (1968 - 1969)
First athlete in North American pro sports history to be on 4 World Championship teams in his first 4 pro seasons. In total, DiMaggio led the New York Yankees to 9 World Series titles in 13 years.
Was born in a two-room dock-side house (destroyed by fire in 1948) and delivered by a midwife, identified on his birth certificate only as Mrs. J. Pico, at approximately 7:00 AM PST.
Only player to hit a home run at the Polo Grounds, Ebbets Field and Yankee Stadium.
The Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital opened on September 17, 1992, for which DiMaggio raised over $4,000,000. Elián González was taken there after he was found by two fisherman off the coast of Miami.
Became the 1st baseball player to sign a contract for $100,000 ($70,000 base salary + bonuses). In 1950 and 1951, he signed contracts for $100,000 firm. [February 1949]
Les Brown's hit song "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio" of the early forties was a tribute to DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak of 1941.
The only recorded instance of DiMaggio exhibiting any emotion on the field was during the 1947 World Series. He kicked the dirt after Al Gionfriddo's amazing catch of an otherwise home run.
Named the Greatest Living Player in a 1969 poll to celebrate baseball's 100th anniversary.
American League MVP (1939, 1941, 1947).
Known for playing a graceful centerfield, he was the best at the position during the thirties and forties.
First athlete to be awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom [10 January 1977]
Wore #9 during the first half of his rookie year (1936) before being switched to #5. #9 was later given to Roger Maris, in whose honor the Yankees retired it in 1984.
His mother wanted him to become a bookeeper because of his proficiency in math.
Despite their son's popularity, Giuseppe and Rosalie DiMaggio - as were thousands of Italians - were deemed "enemy aliens" after Pearl Harbor was attacked. They had to carry photo-identification booklets at all times, weren't allowed to travel more than 5 miles from their home without a permit, and Giuseppe's fishing boat was seized.
Linked to Marian McKnight, Lee Meriwether, Liz Renay, Cleo Moore, Marlene Dietrich, Morgan Fairchild, Dixie Evans, Gloria DeHaven, Rita Gam, and Elizabeth Vargas. But he never publicly confirmed any involvement with any woman. McKnight told an interviewer in 2005 that she was never romantically involved with DiMaggio.
His parents were from Isola delle Femmine, an islet off the coast of Palermo, Sicily; neither knew English. DiMaggio and his siblings did not learn English until they started school. Not surprisingly, English was DiMaggio's worst subject at school.
Named Giuseppe by his mother in the hopes that he (the 8th) would be her last child; his middle name Paolo (Paul) was in honor of Giuseppe's favorite saint, St. Paul.
For 20 years after the death of Marilyn Monroe, DiMaggio had a half-dozen red roses placed at her crypt 3 times a week. The flowers were ordered and delivered from Parisian Florist, 7528 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.
Dorothy Arnold converted to Catholism to marry DiMaggio. When each remarried, they were excommunicated for bigamy; this was later reversed by Vatican II.
Had DiMaggio's streak reached 57 games, Heinz would have hired him to endorse their Heinz 57.
Always insisted on being introduced as "baseball's greatest living ballplayer" at any event after he had been awarded that title.
Mentioned in the Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel song "Mrs. Robinson.".
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 161-163. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Two grandchildren, Paula Hamra and Cathy Stein (adopted by his son). Four great-grandchildren.
Mentioned in Madonna's "Vogue", John Fogerty's "Center Field," Joss Stone's "Whatever Happened to the Heroes," Tori Amos's "Father Lucifer," and Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire.".
Referenced in: "South Pacific" song "Bloody Mary"; Raymond Chandler's novel "Farewell, My Lovely"; Woody Guthrie's song "DiMaggio Done It"; Ernest Hemingway's novel "The Old Man and the Sea"; Seinfeld: The Note (1991); The Simpsons: 'Tis the Fifteenth Season (2003); and Boobs in the Woods (1950).
Auction of over 1,000 DiMaggio's personal possessions held by his son's adopted daughters: 2,000th hit baseball ($29,900); 1947 MVP Award ($281,750); game-worn 1951 World Series uniform ($195,500); Hall of Fame ring ($69,000); photo Marilyn Monroe autographed "I love you Joe" ($80,500); her passport ($115,000); their marriage certificate ($23,000). The event netted $4.1 million. [19-20 May 2006]
Has been played by Bill Murray, Scott Bakula (in the 1983 Broadway musical "Marilyn"), Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Christopher McDonald, John Diehl, Titus Welliver (character based on him), Gary Busey (character based on him), Michael Nouri, Peter Dobson, Sal Landi, and Frank Converse.
Producer Keya Morgan bought a very large part of his estate which was also noted in the New York Times.
When he married Marilyn Monroe, the couple rented a home at 508 N. Palm Drive in Beverly Hills next to Jean Harlow's last home.
While accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1999 Golden Globes, Jack Nicholson noted that his first day of work as an actor was May 5, 1955, which he took as a good omen as "5" was the jersey number of his boyhood idol, DiMaggio. Nicholson later attended DiMaggio's memorial service.
Batted .408 during his 56 game hit streak, with 15 home runs and 55 RBIs.
Pictured on one of a set of 4 USA nondenominated commemorative postage stamps issued 20 July 2013, celebrating Major League Baseball All-Stars. Price on day of issue was 45¢. Others honored in this issue were Ted Williams, Larry Doby, and Willie Stargell.
Recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation in 1986.

Personal Quotes (18)

It's almost a joke when some fan tells me I'm a great man. I'm just a ballplayer who works hard trying to get by.
"I've never thought that was anybody's business but my own." - on his relationship with Marilyn Monroe.
They call a man graceful because he hits a little ball with a certain swing. My father hammered piles on a railroad out of Martinez for 10 cents an hour to support a family. That was grace.
"I don't have a coherent answer as to why that is. I don't try to knock people, hurt their feelings or beat them out of money, but I also haven't tried to create or maintain an image. I work to maintain my privacy." - on his status as a cultural icon.
There was no grass. We played on asphalt with a big ball - a softball - but we threw it overhanded and played by regular baseball rules. When I was 11 or 12, I started playing with older fellas, guys in their 20s. I guess they saw something in me.
There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time. I owe him my best.
"Because there might be someone who never saw me play before". - when asked why he tries so hard.
"At my age, I'm just happy to be named Greatest Living Anything." - on being named baseball's Greatest Living Player in 1969.
You start chasing a ball and your brain immediately commands your body to 'Run forward, bend, scoop up the ball, peg it to the infield,' then your body says, 'Who me?'
You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you're a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.
The test of an outfielder's skill comes when he has to go against the fence to make a catch.
When baseball is no longer fun, it's no longer a game.
I'd like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee.
If anyone wants to know why three kids in one family made it to the big leagues they just had to know how we helped each other and how much we practiced back then. We did it every minute we could.
I can remember a reporter asking me for a quote, and I didn't know what a quote was. I thought it was some kind of soft drink.
I came up twice in the game with the bases loaded and both times I hit balls into the alley, 450 feet away. Home runs in any other park. Well, each time my own brother robbed me by making catches on the warning track. Instead of a possible eight RBI, or at least five or six, I got nothing. That night, Dom came over to my place for dinner. I remember letting him in the door and then not speaking to him until we were almost done eating. I was that mad.
A ball player has to be kept hungry to become a big leaguer. That's why no boy from a rich family has ever made the big leagues.
Too many kids today are playing major league ball and don't belong there.

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