Joe DiMaggio Bio And Facts
Joseph Paul DiMaggio, better known as Joe DiMaggio, is widely regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. DiMaggio spent his entire 13-year career with the New York Yankees, playing from the 1930s into the early 1950s. Although he was a three-time MVP, 13-time All-Star, and a Hall of Famer, DiMaggio’s greatest accomplishment is undoubtedly his 56-game hitting streak in 1941, a record that still stands to this day.
DiMaggio was an important player in one of the greatest dynasties in sports history, helping the Yankees win 10 American League Pennants and nine World Series Championships during his time with the team. DiMaggio wasn’t just a star on the field, though. The center fielder was well known for his highly-publicized relationship with Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe. DiMaggio is also a celebrated icon of the Italian-American community in the United States, as he was the eighth child of Sicilian immigrants.
- Born: November 25, 1914 (25-11-1914)
- Died: March 8, 1999 (08-03-1999)
- Education: Galileo High School, San Francisco, California
- Net Worth: $50 million (at death)
- Occupation: Professional Baseball Player
- Height: 6’2” (1.88 m)
- Weight: 193 lbs (87 kg)
- Position: Center Fielder
- Years Active: 13 years
- Career Hits: 2,214 hits
- Career RBIs: 1,537 RBIs
- Career HRs: 361 HRs
- Nicknames: “Joltin’ Joe,” “The Yankee Clipper,” “Joe D”
- Teams: New York Yankees
Players who play well get paid well, and Joe DiMaggio was no exception. Over his 13 seasons with the New York Yankees, DiMaggio earned $632,250 in career earnings. Adjusted for inflation, that number becomes $8 million today. Unfortunately for DiMaggio, several bad business decisions led to his net worth becoming just $200,000 in 1983.
That same year, however, Joltin’ Joe had a stroke of luck. He became acquainted with Morris Engleberg, an experienced financial expert who soon got DiMaggio’s finances in order. After a series of fruitful business moves, by the time DiMaggio died in 1999, he was worth $50 million.
Joe DiMaggio began playing baseball at 10 years old, competing against neighborhood kids on the local playground. After dropping out of high school, DiMaggio began playing for his hometown team, the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, in 1932.
Impressed by the young man’s talent, the Yankees signed DiMaggio to a contract in 1935, and he made his debut for the team a year later. That year was a terrific year for both DiMaggio and the Yankees. DiMaggio set a franchise record for rookies by hitting 29 home runs, a record that remained until Aaron Judge’s 2017 rookie season. DiMaggio’s performance on the field propelled his team to a World Series win not just in that season but also for the next three years.
In 1941, DiMaggio accomplished the greatest achievement of his baseball career when he recorded a hit in 56 consecutive games. Before DiMaggio, the record was 44 straight games, set by Willie Keeler in 1947. DiMaggio broke the record on July 2, 1941, and extended it to 56 games on July 16. The streak came to an end the next day after DiMaggio failed to record a hit against the Cleveland Indians.
Although his hitting streak came to an end, DiMaggio continued to excel on the Yankees, winning the AL MVP in 1947 along with a World Series ring that same year. Four years later, in 1951, “The Yankee Clipper” ended his illustrious career, retiring at the age of 36 after winning his final World Series with his beloved New York Yankees.
Titles and Awards
For a player as talented as Joe DiMaggio, it should come as no surprise that he accumulated a large number of awards, trophies, and silverware over his career. DiMaggio’s Yankees appeared in 10 World Series championships, winning nine of them. DiMaggio’s nine rings are the second-most in Yankees history, just shy of the great Yogi Berra’s 10 rings.
DiMaggio was named an All-Star in every season he played in the majors, along with winning the AL Batting Title twice. In 1939, at 24 years old, DiMaggio won the AL MVP after posting a league-leading .381 batting average. He won two more MVPs in 1941 and 1947. DiMaggio retired in 1951 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame four years later. He ranks third in Yankees franchise history in both RBIs and batting average.
Joe DiMaggio was the eighth child of Giuseppe and Rosalia DiMaggio, Italian immigrants to America from Sicily. Two of his brothers, Vince DiMaggio and Dom DiMaggio, became center fielders in the MLB, like their brother Joe.
In 1943, during World War II, DiMaggio enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces, the aerial branch of the military during World War II, preceding the U.S. Air Force. DiMaggio never saw action during the war and spent most of his time playing in exhibition baseball games for the military. DiMaggio’s service with the USAAF came to an end in 1945 after he was released on a medical discharge due to stomach ulcers.
DiMaggio was married twice during his life. His first marriage was to actress Dorothy Arnold, whom he met on the set of a movie they both acted in. They married in 1939, having one son: Joseph Paul DiMaggio Jr. The couple divorced in 1944.
DiMaggio’s second and more famous marriage was to another actress: Marilyn Monroe. The marriage was brief, lasting from January 1954 to October 1954. The couple had numerous publicized fights during the marriage, but the divorce allowed DiMaggio to go to therapy to get control over his drinking problem.
After battling lung cancer, the 84-year-old Joe DiMaggio died at his home in Hollywood, Florida, on March 8, 1999.
- The 56-game hitting streak wasn’t DiMaggio’s longest. While playing for the San Francisco Seals in the Pacific Coast League, DiMaggio recorded a hit in 61 straight games. Like his MLB streak, this record stands to this day.
- DiMaggio’s nickname, “The Yankee Clipper,” came from a plane. Due to his speed and range, Yankee Stadium announcer Arch McDonald likened the outfielder to a new Pan-American airliner known as the “Clipper.”
- Due to their Italian ancestry, both Joe DiMaggio’s father and mother were classified as “enemy aliens” during World War II due to Italy’s opposition to the Allies. His parents needed a special permit just to travel five miles away from their home. His father, Giuseppe, had his fishing boat seized by authorities.
- DiMaggio continued to hold a special place in his heart for his second wife, Marilyn Monroe, even after they had divorced. When she died in 1962, DiMaggio arranged the funeral, then sent roses to her crypt three times a week for the next 20 years.
Who was Joe DiMaggio?
Joe DiMaggio was a professional baseball player who spent his entire 13-year career with the New York Yankees. DiMaggio played primarily center field. He won nine World Series Championships and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He is commonly regarded as one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game and was voted as the sport's greatest living player in 1969. He is widely known for his 56-game MLB hitting streak, a record that still stands to this day.