Why Is Joe DiMaggio Mentioned In The Song "Mrs. Robinson?"

why is joe dimaggio mentioned in the song mrs robinson

The famous musical duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, otherwise known as Simon and Garfunkel, released a song titled “Mrs. Robinson” on April 5, 1968. Originally, the song was intended as a dedication to former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Toward the end of the song, Joe DiMaggio is mentioned, as the song asks where he has gone, seemingly implying his disappearance. Read more to know why famous baseball legend Joe DiMaggio was mentioned in this classic American song.

“Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel

When asked by Simon and Garfunkel why they wrote “Mrs. Robinson,” Paul Simon mentioned that he had a loose idea to write a song about American legacies. The song attempted to recall famous people of the past who had achieved notoriety for their talent and heart. Originally, “Mrs. Robinson” was an ode to Eleanor Roosevelt, but eventually, the duo decided to change the name to Robinson, which they thought sounded better.

Simon played “Mrs. Robinson” at Yankee Stadium shortly after Joe DiMaggio’s death as an ode to him. Simon claims that he does not know where the idea of mentioning DiMaggio came from. He was simply a big Yankees fan and felt the intrinsic need to mention his favorite baseball player.

Joe DiMaggio’s Legacy

Born in 1914, Joe DiMaggio was an American Baseball legend. He joined the New York Yankees in 1936 and led the team to nine World Series Championships. He was prominently known for one of the greatest batting streaks in America, lasting 56 games. Physicists and baseball fans alike were astounded by this streak, noting it as one of the most unbreakable records in baseball. After his streak, DiMaggio enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces and became a sergeant. In 1955, DiMaggio was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 1951, he retired from baseball and continued to do various advertisements, such as for Mr. Coffee. DiMaggio briefly became a coach and Vice President of the Oakland Athletics. He was known for being mentioned in two famous songs: “Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio” and “Mrs. Robinson.” He was famously known as Marilyn Monroe’s husband, and refused to speak about her death, which affected him greatly.

DiMaggio as an American Treasure

When asked why he included Joe DiMaggio in the song “Mrs. Robinson,” Paul Simon mentioned meeting Joe Dimaggio at a New York restaurant after the song was written and released. DiMaggio asked Simon why the song had inferred his disappearance, as he had been a part of multiple advertisements at the time. Simon explained that the line in the song inferred the disappearance of great American heroes, and DiMaggio was a reference to the lack of unpretentious and modest heroic figures in American pop culture.

Joe DiMaggio was known for having a humble presence, like the everyday American. He grew up poor and was known to take home leftovers and to grab extra snacks from the airplanes used by the Yankees, according to friends and teammates.

Simon dedicated “Mrs. Robinson” to DiMaggio, stating that DiMaggio held a sense of privacy and dignity that many American figures famously lacked. Simon wanted to demonstrate what a great American figure truly is, and decided to mention a man who represented America at the time. As a result of this, the song “Mrs. Robinson” is a favorite of many, including Yankees fans.