Joe DiMaggio, also known as Joltin' Joe and the Yankee Clipper, died on March 8, 1999. He was one of the greatest baseball players to grace the field and remains a record-setter. Here are 5 things you didn't know about Joe DiMaggio.
His Whole Family Was Talented at Baseball
DiMaggio and his two brothers all went into baseball, despite their father's wish they become fishermen. Vince, Joe's older brother, managed to get signed to a professional team in 1932, and when one of the players for that team was injured, Vince recommended Joe as a substitute. Joe DiMaggio excelled as a replacement and was added as a regular player the next season. He played for the team -- the San Francisco Seals -- until he was traded to the Yankees.
Songwriters Wrote About Him In 1941, the Les Brown orchestra performed a song titled “Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio” that was written by Ben Homer and Alan Courtney. It was a salute to the popular New York Yankee following his 56-game hitting streak. One memorable song mention is more than most players get, but DiMaggio has two. In their 1968 No. 1 single, “Mrs. Robinson,” Simon and Garfunkel sing: “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.” In 2014, Paul Simon, who wrote the lyrics, told the New York Post he once ran into DiMaggio in a restaurant and the baseball great asked him, “Why you’d say that? I’m here, everyone knows I’m here.” Simon explained that “I didn’t mean it that way. I meant, where are all these great heroes now?” Simon said DiMaggio was flattered when he understood what Simon meant.
He Helped Popularize Drinking Coffee One of Joe DiMaggio’s sponsors in the 1970s was Mr. Coffee, electric drip coffee makers. He worked with them for over 20 years and his advertising spots were extremely successful with customers. Vincent Marotta, the CEO of North American Systems (the manufacturers of Mr. Coffee), joked that the ads were so popular that “millions of kids grew up thinking Joe DiMaggio was a famous appliance salesman.” DiMaggio “made more money on Mr. Coffee in a year than he made playing ball,” Marotta said. An interesting fact about Joe DiMaggio is that he himself had ulcer and almost never drank coffee.
He Was the First $100,000 Player. DiMaggio was such a good player that he commanded salaries that were very high for the time, but he really hit the jackpot when he became the first player to command $100,000 for the season. While $100,000 in 1948 dollars is a little over $1 million in 2020 dollars and thus doesn't compare to some of the salaries paid out now (e.g., Mike Trout's $37 million), it was an amazing amount of pay for post-WWII America.
Dimaggio’s Famous Dying Words Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were married in 1954, but the marriage lasted only nine months. By the early 1960s they were back in each other’s lives and DiMaggio planned to ask her to remarry him. After her death in 1962, DiMaggio claimed the body and arranged for her funeral. He had roses sent to her crypt three times a week for 20 years. When DiMaggio died 37 years later in 1999, his attorney, Morris Engelberg, said the baseball great’s final word were:“I finally get to see Marilyn.”