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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio (1914-1999)  holds the Major League Baseball record of hitting safely in 56 consecutive games in 1941. On July 17, 1941 at Cleveland Stadium, DiMaggio's streak was finally snapped at 56 games, thanks in part to two backhand stops by Indians third baseman Ken Keltner.

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.

His father wanted Joe to join the family fishing business like two of his older brothers, but he couldn't stand the smell of fish and the sea.

DiMaggio enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces on February 17, 1943, rising to the rank of sergeant. He was stationed at Santa Ana, California, Hawaii, and Atlantic City, as a physical education instructor.

On February 7, 1949, Joe DiMaggio signed a record contract worth $100,000 with the Yankees  and became the first baseball player to break $100,000 in earnings.

Joe DiMaggio's brother, Dom, played for the Boston Red Sox and their older brother, Vince, was a center-fielder for many MLB teams.

Joe DiMaggio "The Yankee Clipper" announced his retirement from baseball on December 11, 1951.

Marilyn Monroe and DiMaggio married at San Francisco City Hall on January 14, 1954. She filed for divorce on grounds of mental cruelty 274 days after the wedding.

DiMaggio claimed Marilyn Monroe's body after her suicide, and arranged her funeral, paying for her casket and crypt.

For 20 years after the death of Marilyn Monroe, Di Maggio had a half-dozen red roses placed at her crypt three times a week.

The Simon & Garfunkel song "Mrs. Robinson" includes the famous line, "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?"Paul Simon was using him to represent heroes of the past. DiMaggio was a little miffed when he heard this, since he was still very much alive even though he retired from baseball in 1951, but he realized that he had become a new icon now with the baby boomer generation due to this song's success.

He was voted the sport's greatest living player in a poll taken during the baseball centennial year of 1969.

Joe DiMaggio was a heavy smoker for much of his adult life. He was admitted to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, on October 12, 1998, for lung cancer surgery, and remained there for three months. He returned to his Florida home on January 19, 1999, where he died on March 8th.

DiMaggio's private mausoleum. By BrokenSphere - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia Commons

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