Joe DiMaggio played baseball majestically, all but perfectly. In thirteen magic Yankee seasons, DiMaggio’s 9 World Series and 8 championships were a baseball record that may be untouchable like his basehits in 56 straight games in 1941. And the records pale before people’s memories of DiMaggio’s grace in centerfield, his competitive fire at bat. Of the five things that a ballplayer must do-run, field, throw, hit and hit for power–his biographer Richard Ben Cramer says DiMaggio was the first ever who was brilliant at all five.
When he quit playing baseball in 1951, he played Joe DiMaggio, Mr. Coffee, Mr. Marilyn Monroe-a private man in many stages of public pain till his death last year: he was peevish, silent, priapic, jealous, greedy, vain, lightly mobbed up, Ben Cramer says, and deeply unhappy about the life story that he didn’t want to tell, and didn’t want Richard Ben Cramer to tell either. “The Hero’s Life” is this hour on The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Richard Ben Cramer, author of “The Hero’s Life”