Joe DiMaggio was one of the greatest players of all-time. He made everything look so easy. Joe DiMaggio worked harder than everyone. The way Joe DiMaggio played through injuries and pain, showed his dedication to the game of baseball. During the 1949 season, when he was 35 years old, Joe had a bad heel (he always had feet problems). But this time it was serious. The big question was if he would ever play again. It was June 25 and he had not played a game the whole season. Everyday, when he got up and stood up, he would sit right back down because of the pain in his foot. One day when he got up, the pain was gone. So he went down to the ballpark and took some batting practice. During batting practice, his hands started to bleed. He told the new manager, Casey Stengel, about this. They discovered that when he was out with a foot injury, he didn’t take good care of his hands. After a half hour, his hands stopped bleeding and he was able to play that day. They were playing in Boston that day and Joe DiMaggio love to play in Fenway Park. But the question was still if he could contribute anything after being out for that long. Joe DiMaggio was the kind of guy that could carry a team. If you had DiMaggio on your team, you won. If you didn’t have him on your team, you lost. In his first game back, Joe hit a home run! In his second game back, he hit two home runs! In his third game, Joe hit another game back. He had four home runs in his first three games back against the Red Sox and the Yankees went on to sweep the series. Joe DiMaggio played great under pressure. While playing for the Yankees, he had nine world series wins. But before he was a Yankee, Joe DiMaggio had a difficult childhood. Joe DiMaggio was born in 1914 and grew up in San Francisco. He had an Italian father (at the time, Italian-American were not treated very nicely) from South Sicily. His father was a poor fisherman (fishing was the family business). But DiMaggio hated boats, the water and fishing. So being a fisherman wasn’t his destiny. He started playing baseball in the local Pacific Coast League (he was being paid for it). This wasn’t to his liking because he wanted his son to be part of the family business. But with the extra money in the house, hid father unhappily approved. Joe DiMaggio’s brother also became a ballplayer. His name was Dom and he played center field for the Boston Red Sox. In 1933, when DiMaggio was 19, he signed a $25,000 contact with the New York Yankees. It was unbelievable for a person to hit major league pitching at such a young age. In his first season, he hit .323 and had 15 triples. He was an all-star in every season of his career. Before he was a Yankee, the Yankees finished in second place in three straight seasons. Once Joe became a Yankee, the Yankees won four straight championships. He was a baseball genius, an Albert Instien of Baseball. He could throw, run, hit and hit for power. He was also great playing defense. Joe DiMaggio was a center fielder, and it would always seem like he was standing and waiting for the ball to come to him. He was also alert and daring on the bases. He was always about going for extra bases. But in 1941, he enlisted into the army and went to fight in World War 2. After missing three seasons, Joe came back and the Yankees won the next four out of five world series. But then he went into a slump. When he came out of the horrible slump, DiMaggio hit in a record of 56 straight games! And when DiMaggio was hitting the team was winning. Pressure didn’t mean anything to him. Between games of a double header, a fan jumped into the dugout and stole Joe DiMaggio’s favorite bat. Nobody knows how they got it back, but before the second DiMaggio got his bat back. Then one of the pitchers for the White Sox claimed he could get Joe out. He said “I’ll pitch him his first at-bat, get him out, and walk him during each of his next at-bats so he will go 0-1 and his hitting streak would come to an end”. Well, during his first at-bat, DiMaggio got out. During his next at-bat, the count went to 3-0 and the next pitch was out of the strike zone, but he reached out and hit it up the middle for a hit. His brother, Dom, who played for the Red Sox, told the man in the scoreboard to yell out whenever his brother got another hit. He made his last appearance at Yankee Stadium in September of 1998. On March 8, 1999 he died at the age of 85. But the great Yankee legend will never be forgotten. He now has a place in monument park and his jersey number, #5, is now retired. He was one of the most famous players that ever lived. He played in 13 season, had 10 American League pennants, and 9 world series championships. He was married to Marilynn Monroe. He retired because he was getting weaker and he didn’t want the fans to remember him struggling. He was truly a perfect symbol of Yankee excellence.moreless
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