- DiMaggio, Joseph (Joe) Paul
- (1914-1899)The son of Sicilian immigrants, Joe DiMaggio was born Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio in California. He dropped out of high school and in 1932 joined the San Francisco Seals minor league baseball team rather than fish with his father. In 1934, he was sold for $25,000 and five players to the New York Yankees, although he played the 1935 season with the Seals because of a knee injury. The Yankees won the World Series in each of his first four seasons. DiMaggio played for the Yankees until his retirement in 1951 and was one of the outstanding baseball players of the century. Known for his grace both on and off the field, he was a stylish player renowned for his fielding and hitting. He hit 28 home runs in his first season, and upon retirement he had the fifth most career home runs, with a total of 361. In 1941, his 56-gamehitting streak gripped the nation, and he became known as “Joltin’ Joe” and the “Yankee Clipper.” In February 1942, asking for no special treatment, DiMaggio enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force and served as a physical education instructor and played exhibition games for the troops through World War II. He resumed his baseball career in 1946 and led the Yankees to four more victories in the World Series. Although he won his third title as most valuable player in 1947 and was the first player to earn $100,000 in 1949, DiMaggio retired when he felt his game begin to decline. In 1954, he married movie star Marilyn Monroe, but they were divorced after less than a year. It seemed that they were planning to reconcile just before her suicide in 1962. DiMaggio was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955 and in 1969 was named the greatest living baseball player. He is remembered in several songs, most notably Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson.” His brothers Vince and Dominic were also successful baseball players, Vince with the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates and Dom with the Boston Red Sox.See also Sport.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.