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Joe DiMaggio Biography: Life and Career of Baseball's Yankee Clipper

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Born November 25th, 1914 and raised in San Francisco, California, Joe DiMaggio was 1 of 3 brothers in his family to play major league baseball. He spent his entire sports career playing for the New York Yankees, where he made history on several occasions. Even after his retirement, he remained in the media spotlight for his marriage to superstar Marilyn Monroe, with whom he stayed good friends after their divorce. In this WatchMojo.com video, we take a look the life and career of Joe DiMaggio.
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He was known as “Joltin’ Joe” and “The Yankee Clipper.” Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re taking a look at the life and career of Joe DiMaggio.

Family


Joseph Paul DiMaggio was born November 25th, 1914 and raised in San Francisco, California. His Italian immigrant parents envisioned fishing careers for their sons, but it wasn’t meant to be: three of their nine children, Joe, Vince and Dom, went on to play major league baseball.

San Francisco Seals


After learning to play ball, DiMaggio left school during his mid-teens. He then began to play with the San Francisco Seals in the early 1930s after being recommended by his brother Vince, who was the team’s center fielder. With the Seals, Joe DiMaggio made Pacific Coast League history in 1933 when he obtained at least one hit for sixty-one games in a row.

Pacific Coast League Title


DiMaggio’s blossoming baseball career was almost cut short after a knee injury the next year. Fortunately, he overcame the temporary setback and helped the Seals win the PCL title for the 1935 season.

New York Yankees


DiMaggio started playing in the major leagues in 1936 after his contract was sold to the New York Yankees. Starting that year, the center fielder led his team to four consecutive World Series Championships. In fact, the Yankees won five more World Series titles before DiMaggio’s retirement in 1951. In addition to these successes, they won ten American League pennants with Joltin’ Joe.

Most Valuable Player


During his early years with the team, DiMaggio scored the most runs and home runs in the league. In 1939, he batted an average of .381 and was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player, which was an honor he received twice more during his run with the team. That same year, he also married actress Dorothy Arnold.

Hitting Streak


One of DiMaggio’s standout skills was his consistency as a hitter. This was no more evident than in 1941 when he managed to realize a feat no other athlete has come close to duplicating: he set a Major League record for consecutive games with at least one base hit at fifty-six. This hitting streak began on May 15th, 1941 against the Chicago White Sox.

Major League Record


As DiMaggio’s success continued throughout the summer, America began to take notice. While playing the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on July 2nd, the player surpassed the previous hitting streak record of forty-four games, set in 1897. Fifteen days later, Cleveland Indians’ third basemen Ken Keltner ended DiMaggio’s streak, but did nothing to lessen DiMaggio’s fame.

Brief Break and Return to Baseball


After briefly serving in the U.S. Army Air Forces during the 1940s, DiMaggio returned to baseball. He showed off his speed and range as a fielder in 1947 when he tied the existing record by playing one hundred and forty-one games with only a single error.

Retirememnt


Two years later, the athlete made history once more after negotiating a contract that earned him a salary of one hundred thousand dollars. However, health problems and disappointing statistics made the 1951 season DiMaggio’s last as a professional baseball player. Among his many accomplishments, DiMaggio finished his career having stolen home five times. He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.

Marilyn Monroe



His popularity continued when he wed Marilyn Monroe on January 14th, 1954. However, their allegedly tumultuous relationship famously came to blows during the filming of “The Seven Year Itch” a few months later, and this event led the actress to file for divorce in October of that year.

Love Life


Though DiMaggio was later rumored to be involved with several actresses, he never re-married. He remained good friends with Monroe throughout her lifetime and even handled her funeral arrangements in 1962.

Other Work


Despite his retirement, DiMaggio remained in the public eye as an advertising spokesman for several businesses, and as a supporter of numerous humanitarian causes.

Death


After undergoing surgery for lung cancer, DiMaggio died in his home in Florida on March 8th, 1999.

Legacy


Known for his outstanding abilities as a hitter and center fielder, Joe DiMaggio was a record-setting baseball player whose legacy has been memorialized on multiple occasions. As the only MLB player to be chosen as an All-Star for every season he played, Joltin’ Joe has gone down in history as one of the greatest ball players ever.
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