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Joe DiMaggio
1939 Playball Joe Dimaggio (minus halftone).jpg
DiMaggio, c.1939
Center fielder
Born: (1914-11-25)November 25, 1914
Martinez, California
Died: March 8, 1999(1999-03-08) (aged 84)
Hollywood, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right
May 3, 1936, for the New York Yankees
Last appearance
September 30, 1951, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Batting average .325
Hits 2,214
Home runs 361
Runs batted in 1,537
Career highlights and awards
  • 13× All-Star (1936–1942, 1946–1951)
  • World Series champion (1936–1939, 1941, 1947, 1949–1951)
  • AL MVP (1939, 1941, 1947)
  • 2× AL batting champion (1939, 1940)
  • 2× AL home run leader (1937, 1948)
  • 2× AL RBI leader (1941, 1948)
  • MLB record 56-game hitting streak
  • New York Yankees No. 5 retired
  • Major League Baseball All-Century Team
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction 1955
Vote 88.84% (third ballot)

Joseph Paul DiMaggio (November 25, 1914 – March 8, 1999), nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper", was an American baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record that still stands.

DiMaggio was a three-time Most Valuable Player Award winner and an All-Star in each of his 13 seasons. During his tenure with the Yankees, the club won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships.

At the time of his retirement after the 1951 season, he ranked fifth in career home runs (361) and sixth in career slugging percentage (.579). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955, and was voted the sport's greatest living player in a poll taken during the baseball centennial year of 1969. His brothers Vince (1912–1986) and Dom (1917–2009) also were major league center fielders. DiMaggio is widely known for his marriage and lifelong devotion to Marilyn Monroe.

Early life

1936 Goudey World Wide Gum baseball card of Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees #51

Joseph Paul DiMaggio was born in Martinez, California, the eighth of nine children born to Italian immigrants from Isola delle Femmine, Sicily. He was named Paolo after his father Giuseppe's favorite saint, Saint Paul.

DiMaggio did not finish his education at Galileo High School and instead worked odd jobs including hawking newspapers, stacking boxes at a warehouse and working at an orange juice plant.

DiMaggio was playing semi-pro ball when older brother Vince DiMaggio, playing for the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), talked his manager into letting DiMaggio fill in at shortstop. Joe DiMaggio made his professional debut on October 1, 1932.

In 1934 the Yankees purchased his contract for $50,000 and five players. He remained with the Seals for the 1935 season. His team won the 1935 PCL title, and DiMaggio was named the league's Most Valuable Player.

DiMaggio's popularity during his career was such that he was referenced in film, television, literature, art, and music both during his career and decades after he retired.

Major league career

1937 all stars crop FINAL2
Seven of the American League's 1937 All-Star players, from left to right Lou Gehrig, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Foxx, and Hank Greenberg. All seven were eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame.

DiMaggio made his major league debut on May 3, 1936, batting ahead of Lou Gehrig. The Yankees had not been to the World Series since 1932, but they won the next four Fall Classics. Over the course of his 13-year Major League career, DiMaggio led the Yankees to 9 World Series championships.

DiMaggio set a franchise record in 1936 by hitting 29 home runs in his rookie season. DiMaggio accomplished the feat in 138 games. His record stood for over 80 years until it was broken by Aaron Judge, who hit the 30th home run in his rookie season in his 84th game in 2017.

In 1939, DiMaggio was nicknamed the "Yankee Clipper" by Yankee's stadium announcer Arch McDonald, when he likened DiMaggio's speed and range in the outfield to the then-new Pan American airliner.

DiMaggio was pictured with his son on the cover of the inaugural issue of SPORT magazine in September 1946.

Joe DiMaggio 1951 in Japan
Autographed photo ofJoe DiMaggio 1951 in Japan

In the September 1949 issue of SPORT, Hank Greenberg said that DiMaggio covered so much ground in center field that the only way to get a hit against the Yankees was "to hit 'em where Joe wasn't." DiMaggio also stole home five times in his career.


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, New Jersey, as a physical education instructor. He was released on medical discharge in September 1945, due to chronic stomach ulcers.

Other than being paid $21 a month, DiMaggio's service was as comfortable as a soldier's life could be. He spent most of his career playing for baseball teams and in exhibition games against fellow Major Leaguers and minor league players, and superiors gave him special privileges due to his prewar fame.


DiMaggio's grave at the Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma, California

DiMaggio, a heavy smoker for much of his adult life, was admitted to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, on October 12, 1998, for lung cancer surgery and remained there for 99 days. He returned to his home in Hollywood, Florida, on January 19, 1999; he died there at age 84 on March 8.

DiMaggio's funeral was held on March 11, 1999, at Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in San Francisco; he was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, California. DiMaggio's son died the following August at age 57.


Joe DiMaggio Plaque
DiMaggio's plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame

At his death, The New York Times called DiMaggio's 1941 56-game hitting streak "perhaps the most enduring record in sports."

On September 17, 1992, the doors were opened at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, for which he raised over $4,000,000.

On April 13, 1998, DiMaggio was given the Sports Legend Award at the 13th annual American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame Awards Dinner in New York City. Dr. Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and a longtime fan of DiMaggio's, made the presentation to the Yankee great.

Yankee Stadium's fifth monument was dedicated to DiMaggio on April 25, 1999, and the West Side Highway was officially renamed in his honor. The Yankees wore DiMaggio's number 5 on the left sleeves of their uniforms for the 1999 season.

He is ranked No. 11 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and he was elected by fans to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

On August 8, 2011, the United States Postal Service announced that DiMaggio would appear on a stamp for the first time. It was issued as part of the "Major League Baseball All-Star Stamp Series," which came out in July 2012.

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