Baseball star Joe DiMaggio, a towering determine of American common tradition each on and off the sector, died in Hollywood, Florida, after a battle with lung most cancers on this present day in historical past, March 8, 1999.
The New York Yankees legend was 84 years previous.
“Joltin’ Joe” DiMaggio was a nine-time World Series champion, three-time American League MVP and, most memorably on the sector, hit safely in 56 straight video games in 1941 — an unbelievable file of consistency which has by no means been approximated since.
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DiMaggio died, in accordance with some accounts, whispering the identify of his life-long love and ex-wife, additionally an American idol, Marilyn Monroe.
Others near him disputed the deathbed declare.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame has declared DiMaggio a “cultural icon” and “an American hero.”
His Hall of Fame biography says, “He married Hollywood starlets Marilyn Monroe and Dorothy Arnold and he was immortalized in Paul Simon’s hit song ‘Mrs. Robinson.’”
It provides, “To a generation he was the face of Mister Coffee, and he was regarded as one of the greatest players who ever played the game.”
“When New York saw itself as the center of the world, he was its paragon of class.” — Richard Ben Cramer on Joe DiMaggio
Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio was born to Sicilian immigrant mother and father in Martinez, California, on Nov. 25, 1914.
He made his Yankees debut in 1936 and performed till 1951, lacking three seasons on the top of his profession to World War II, when he served as a U.S. Army Air Forces sergeant.
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His sleek type of play earned him the nickname “Yankee Clipper,” after the posh business airliners that took flight over American skies within the Thirties simply as DiMaggio’s profession took off with the Yankees.
“Coming out of the Great Depression, he was the immigrant boy who made it big,” wrote DiMaggio biographer Richard Ben Cramer.
“Coming back from World War II, he had all the wealth and power that New York aspired to. When New York saw itself as the center of the world, he was its paragon of class.”
He was the largest star on Yankees’ groups that dominated baseball and sports activities headlines in America’s largest media market throughout a glamorous period in New York City historical past.
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The Bronx Bombers received the American League pennant in 10 of DiMaggio’s 13 seasons and received all however a type of 10 World Series appearances.
DiMaggio was a baseball All Star in every season of his profession.
“I’ll finally get to see Marilyn.” — DiMaggio’s disputed final phrases
He complemented his seemingly easy play within the discipline with dominance on the plate.
DiMaggio was a two-time American League batting champ, two-time home-run chief and two-time RBI chief.
DiMaggio additionally bridged dynastic intervals in Yankees historical past, taking the sector with figures who spanned 65 years of storied franchise lore.
He received titles early in his profession with Lou Gehrig and late in his profession with Mickey Mantle and Billy Martin.
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Gehrig received his first World Series with Babe Ruth in 1923 and his final with DiMaggio in 1939.
Mantle took his final swing with the Yankees in 1968; Martin returned from his enjoying profession to handle the Yankees right into a World Series championship in 1977 and final led the group in 1988.
“Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.” — Simon & Garfunkel in “Mrs. Robinson”
Despite glowing success on the diamond, DiMaggio is remembered by many Americans at the moment for his romance with bombshell Monroe, a relationship that blazed throughout the headlines and gossip pages.
The couple wed in January 1954, however divorced in October after simply 274 days of marriage. DiMaggio was reportedly jealous and possessive, lamented her substance abuse and despised her relationship with different celebrities corresponding to Frank Sinatra and, later, President John F. Kennedy.
He grew enraged on the set of Monroe’s well-known subway grate scene in September 1954 for the film “The Seven Year Itch.” Her gown billowed provocatively over her head whereas followers on the road lewdly cheered the spectacle.
Yet, by all accounts, he doted on her the remainder of his life.
“I’ll finally get to see Marilyn,” DiMaggio whispered in his final phrases, in accordance with a bedside account instructed by lawyer and confidant Morris Engelberg.
“DiMaggio orchestrated the starlet’s funeral. He kept it private and dignified, forbidding many Hollywood stars to attend the ceremonies,” writes PBS American Experience.
“In the years that followed, DiMaggio rarely spoke of her. He had roses delivered to her gravesite twice a week for the next 20 years. DiMaggio never married again.”
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DiMaggio has been the topic of books, documentaries and several other common songs.
He’s a central determine within the Simon & Garfunkel hit “Mrs. Robinson,” from the seminal 1967 interval Hollywood manufacturing “The Graduate.”
The tune portrays DiMaggio as a heroic icon of an America many individuals felt slipping away within the Sixties: “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?” Paul Simon wrote. “Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”
DiMaggio can be celebrated in John Fogerty’s 1985 baseball anthem “Centerfield”; in Billy Joel’s 1989 romp by way of American historical past “We Didn’t Start the Fire”; and in Madonna’s 1990 hit “Vogue,” a tribute to the nice vogue icons of the Forties and Nineteen Fifties.
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“Men like Joe DiMaggio are not just of their own time,” actor and baseball fanatic Kevin Costner as soon as stated. “They are men for the ages.”