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What They Said At the Time… Big-Time Baseball (1950) – Joe DiMaggio

This great old paperback book had been my fathers when he was a kid. There are great stories inside including this biography of Joe DiMaggio (who they included as their left fielder on their All-Star Team of All-Time).

The book was written by Harold H. Hart and Ralph Tolleris and was published by the Hart Publishing Company in New York City. The beautiful illustrations were by Sydney Weiss.

When this book was published, DiMaggio was just about to enter his age-35 season. He had just helped the Yankees to another World Championship in 1949 after missing much of the season with his famous bone spur. The 1950 season would be DiMaggio’s second to last season though most people didn’t suspect his career was this close to its end at the time.

Let’s see what “Big-Time Baseball” had to say about Joe DiMaggio…

Joe Di Maggio

The Yankee Clipper

In 1948, the Yanks, the Red Sox, and the Indians were locked in a down-the-final-stretch struggle. One game, one hit, one misplay, might mean the pennant. The Bombers were battling the Bosox in a tough one. In the top of the tenth, the score stood 6 to 6.

The Yanks had the bases full, with 2 out. There was a tense hush as Joe Di Maggio stepped into the batter’s box. Eartl Caldwell, Boston Hurler, wound up and let fly. Di Mag lashed out with his bat and sent a tremendous drive roaring into left-field. It cleared the fense-inches on the wrong side of the foul line! With sighs of relief, the Beantown rooters settled back into their seats. In the press box, a writer expressed everybody’s feelings when he said, “You don’t hit 2 balls that hard in one time at bat.”

He was wrong, because you do if your name is Di Maggio. The Yankee Clipper lashed into Caldwell’s very next delivery. The center-fielder got only a glimpse of the ball as it crash-landed high into the center-field bleachers.

When the chips are down, Di Maggio has always been a man to be reckoned with. As Joe explains it, “I figure the pitcher should be more worried than I am.” And since Joe has hit over 300 home runs in the big parks, he is probably right. The pitchers do have more to worry about than Joe.

Joe’s nonpareil mark is his matchless performance of 1941 when he hit safely in 56 consecutive games. From May 15th to July 16th, Joe gave every pitcher goose-pimples. He hit safely in every game he played, and these were no baby taps, either. During his phenomenal streak, he registered 15 homers, 4 triples, and 16 doubles. His percentage on this grand march was a juicy .408. He had batted in 55 runs.

Though Joe has led the league twice in batting and holds various and sundry records for hitting, Di Maggio may be said to be the very best of present-day outfielders. On defense, Joe is a manger’s dream. Any ball arriving in center-field finds Joe planted under it, waiting to gather it into his glove. There aren’t many gasps from the stands when Di Maggio makes a catch! Joe makes it look so easy.

Joe is your all-around player and the baseball magnates know it. His estimated salary of $100,000 in 1949 is probably the top salary ever earned by any player in the big-time. No doubt that the fans consider him the tops, too, for since his first selection in 1936 for the All-Star competition, Joe has been chosen for this honor 11 times.


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