National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day March 8 – Joe DiMaggio

0 Comments 08 March 2012


An American Icon. Yes.

Amongst his sporting highlights – which are thoroughly recorded and discussed – DiMaggio came to define Americana in the 20th century. His stamp on American culture was deep and thorough as attested to in the following snippet from his obit:

At his peak, he was serenaded as “Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio” by Les Brown and saluted as “the great DiMaggio” by Ernest Hemingway in “The Old Man and the Sea.” He was mentioned in dozens of films and Broadway shows; the sailors in “South Pacific” sing that Bloody Mary’s skin is “tender as DiMaggio’s glove.” Years later, he was remembered by Paul Simon, who wondered with everybody else: “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”

A few things to note here. Regarding the subject:

Point # 1 – Perhaps a nod to the romanticism of the American Morality of the  mid 20th century but reading through the obit I’m struck at how DiMaggio, during the height of his career, dropped everything to serve overseas from 1943-1945. I’m left to wonder if, say, Lebron James would do the same in this day and age? Not to pick on James per se (and to recognize Pat Tillman) but to analyze the contemporary American ideal of reaping all the reward with none of the sacrifice.


Point # 2 –  I never realized DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak and Ted Williams .406 season were the same season. And that DiMaggio went on to win the MVP that year.

Point # 3 – Voting for the Hall of Fame in MLB is a farse. DiMaggio failed to get enough votes to make the baseball Hall of Fame when he became eligible in 1953. People speculate that it was perhaps because his aloofness had alienated some of the writers who did the voting. But come on, that’s a bit ridiculous.

Regarding the obit:

9.7 out of 10 lytles. Other than this cheesy line describing DiMaggio’s turn to advertisements during the 1970s:

Instead, he was the epitome of credibility, the graying and trustworthy hero who had hit his home runs and was now returning to extol the virtues of saving money and brewing coffee.

It’s a quality piece of obit writing that anyone – myself included – should be proud to demand upon passing.

Reverently, lets get it on

Joe DiMaggio, the Yankee Clipper and an American Icon, Dies at 84


HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Joe DiMaggio, the flawless center fielder for the New York Yankees who, along with Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, symbolized the team’s dynastic success across the 20th century and whose 56-game hitting streak in 1941 made him an instant and indelible American folk hero, died early Monday at his home here. He was 84 years old. Continue 

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