Joe DiMaggio

I just read in this week’s Newsweek a couple articles about Joe DiMaggio and it put me in a pensive mood. It seems he was obsessed with money to ridiculous extremes and also about privacy and he spent his later years totally alone and had no friends. he was estranged from everybody, including his own son. It made me think how, whatever we think, usually we are responsible for our own happiness or unhappiness and all the money in the world or all the actions of others have little effect on that. Here’s a man who had eveerything and made himself miserable beacause, in spite of his millions, $20 was more important to him than anything else. He shut himself off from the outside world. It’s pathetic and you have to feel sorry for the guy.

Sort of goes along with Marilyn Monroe and her mental instability… Food for thought. It left me in a somber mood…

The articles can be found online at

I don’t know if you interpreted that right. Joe just wanted a bit of a normal life. I saw him shopping in the grocery store once. He was alive and happy with some of his family. Even being the non-sports fan I am, I wanted a word, but decided to let him be. He just looked so happy. Beware of the media, they will dramatize anything they can.
So here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson…


Well, I am only going by what the article says. It seems pretty factual in the sense that either the things it says are true facts or they are lies which could be disproved. To me it looks pretty convincing. For example it says he was estranged from his son. His son was a bum working as a truck driver and estranged from his father. Either this is true, in which case it is pretty sad, or it is a lie in which case it would be pretty easy to disprove.

Also the things about money. Either they are true or they are not. They sound pretty concise to me and could be easily disproved if untrue.

Your encounter does not seem to contradict any of it and I do not think you can judge the guy by having seen him for a few seconds.

He was a renowned tightwad. He was one of the highest priced autographs out there, and was at a lot of shows selling them (to be fair, he was honest and always declared the income, unlike some modern players). Almost no reports dispute this. He was estranged from his son. He also reportedly drove away friends. He was always reputed to be very private, even in his playing days. This doesn’t mean he was alone or miserable, necessarily. He supposedly still had an inner circle of friends.

I admit that I am a little unclear as to how someone working as a truck driver is a “bum.” Driving a truck is a hard job.

I always got the sense Joe was a little strange. His insistence that he would not appear at Yankee Stadium unless he was officially referred to as “The Greatest Living Ballplayer” always struck me as being bizarre - even Ty Cobb wouldn’t have demanded that.

He might still have been content, but he was a funny duck.

Yay, I get to tell my Joe DiMaggio story. In 1985 I was in Vero Beach to see a Dodgers spring training game. I saw Joe Amalfitano (Dodger hitting coach) walking back to the complex from the golf course and I stopped him to ask for his autograph. He’s signing my piece of paper when he looks over my shoulder and says “hey, Joe D!” I turn around and there is Joe Freakin’ DiMaggio standing right in front of me! Completely floored, I say “OH MY GOD” he smiles at me and says, “yeah, but you can call me Joe”. :smiley:

Yes, you’re right. Sorry 'bout that. I think lurkernomore made my point a little better than I could have. Also, my “hunch” comes from more than just that sighting. But I didn’t mention that, did I?


To be fair, it’s probably because he grew up as the son of a poor fisherman during the Depression. Most people today have no idea what effect the Depression had on people. You learned to get by with less. You did not spend money unless it was absolutely necessary. You watched your friends and relatives lose everything they had and it wasn’t their fault and you wondered when it would happen to you. Jobs were hard to come by, so if you had one, you held onto it as hard as you could. Habits are hard to break, especially those developed when young, so it’s understandable if DiMaggio was reluctant to spend money even when he had so much. Deep down, he was probably afraid that it would all be taken away from him.