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Author Topic: Some Baseball Anecdotes  (Read 1221 times)
JoeC
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« on: March 12, 2021, 10:46:33 AM »

From a book I recently read on Joe DiMaggio. Has some stuff on other players of his era as well.

His shyness/silence:

 - Hank Greenberg quote, "If Joe said hello to you that was a long conversation"
 - When Joe's older brother,Tom, opened the family restaurant at Fisherman's Wharf, he'd get Joe to come by regularly in the off-season to glad-hand patrons; Joe hated this
 - His roommate on the road, Lefty Gomez, reported that Joe could go days when the two were alone without uttering a word; maybe some unintelligible response but ... no words (somehow, though Lefty was an extrovert, they hit it off OK)

Education

 - Joe dropped out of Galileo HS two months into his first year there; he could learn but didn't see the point
 - Dominic was the only one in the immediate family to graduate from high school

Spare Time
  
- Listened to big band music and quiz shows on the radio, religiously read comic books (especially, Superman); wouldn't buy comic books in person (got someone else to go to the newsstand)

Personal Traits

- Joe loved to sleep (up to 12 hours a day); he guzzled black coffee all day so a bit hard to reconcile
- Known for having "short arms and long pockets" (when it came to picking up a tab, buying drinks, etc)

Neighborhood Friends/Acquaintances

  - Best friend as a kid was Dario Lodigiani who played as an adult for the A's and White Sox
  - Pirates OF Dino Restelli (a good bit younger than Joe) lived two doors down in their North Beach area of SF

Other Ball Players

  - Always referred to Johnny Pesky as "Clubhouse Kid," from when Pesky had that job with his hometown Portland PCL team and DiMaggio was a star with the Seals
  - Jerry Coleman said it almost made him cry to see Joe D in those clownish Oakland As gold/green/white unis and big white shoes (when Joe was hired by Finley as an Exec VP and coach)

Other Ballparks

- Joe was always asked how many HRs he would have hit had he played at Fenway (he lost at least a hundred by playing in the Death Valley of Yankee Stadium); Joe answered that Ebbets Field was his dream park and he likely would've hit more there!

« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 11:08:36 AM by JoeC » Logged
Robb_K
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2021, 11:44:43 AM »

Interesting stuff.
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JoeC
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2021, 02:51:13 PM »

Another revelation to me on Bronx-native Hank Greenberg was that he would definitely have signed with the NYY except he saw no future there with Gehrig ensconced at 1B (even though Lou was 7 years his senior). That's a big reason why he ended up in Detroit!
« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 02:55:28 PM by JoeC » Logged
doctordoowop
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2021, 02:10:57 AM »

Read that Joe, Crosetti & another Yankee  SF Italian drove from CA to  Florida-yes not a word was said. For 3-4 days.  Can you say taciturn?  But for $$ Joe talked a lot for MR Coffee!
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2021, 02:18:08 AM »

They would sit for hours in silence in hotel lobbies.
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JoeC
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2021, 08:09:58 AM »

Read that Joe, Crosetti & another Yankee  SF Italian drove from CA to  Florida-yes not a word was said. For 3-4 days.  Can you say taciturn?  But for $$ Joe talked a lot for MR Coffee!
I should add that the "research" did show that a drink or two would loosen Joe up in a group of people. Also, Joe was aware of his extreme shyness. He told the few close friends he had that he wished he could be more outgoing but ... it was just not in in his nature.

Lastly, a local teenager  who would wait for hours outside the Yankees player exit door to get autographs, circa 1951, had this to say about Mantle, Ford and Joe. (He accosted all three on numerous occasions.)  He said the worst to ask was Mantle who, more than once, actually kicked (or tried to kick) his "fans." Ford would sign maybe for the first two people and then quickly run for his car, leaving the horde disappointed. Joe D would sign for 30 minutes or more some time. Maybe Joe had mellowed (1951 was his last year).
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bklynmike101
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2021, 01:35:57 PM »

Signing does not really require you to talk. If he was truly shy, that could explain his willingness to sign but reluctance to talk.
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JoeC
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2021, 03:36:34 PM »

Signing does not really require you to talk. If he was truly shy, that could explain his willingness to sign but reluctance to talk.
Good point, Mike. And, may have just caught Joe on a good day. Later in life, Joe was famous for NEVER signing for free. Not even for people he had a connection with.
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2021, 08:43:12 PM »

Could u imagine his reaction wen he was asked to pay and/or not allowed in a special entrance to YS.  That was the guys last day of work.
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JoeC
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2021, 11:20:28 AM »

I did some anecdotes on Joe DiMaggio, so here's a worthy followup in Mr. Ted Williams:

- Ted was LOUD. In today's parlance, he spoke in ALL CAPS. You can imagine that this easily intimidated people. Despite his booming regular voice, he apparently never resorted to actual violence. Also, if "bad language" upset you, Ted was not your guy.

- If you wanted Ted's respect, you better "give as well as you got" in terms of his jibes and brashness.

- Signed with the PCL's San Diego Padres and played a few games for them while he was still a 17 yr old Senior at Hoover High School. The StL Cardinals could have signed him for $1000 to beat the Padres offer of $800. They wouldn't go the extra $200 their scout recommended. So ... he and Musial could have been teammates.

- Ted's first Spring Training in Sarasota (1938), he responded to Red Sox Mgr Joe Cronin's greeting with "Hi, Sport." That basically got Ted a one way ticket to their AAA club in Minneapolis.

- Cramer, Vosmik and Chapman were the three starting Red Sox OFs in 1938. When Ted was sent down, they laughed (he was too cocky for their tastes). He yelled at them that soon enough he'd be back and making more $$ than the three of them combined.

- Ted used both 32 and 34 oz bats -- VERY light for those days

- Basketball coach Bobby Knight (a close, younger friend): "Ted, politically, was well to the right of Attila the Hun." Like Jackie Robinson, he was a big Nixon supporter.

- As a youth in San Diego, Ted was mortally embarrassed by his mother. She was a die-hard street presence in many San Diego neighborhoods and on city buses, canvassing and preaching for the Salvation Army with her uniform, clanging bell and donations "pot." The Salvation Army was her whole life, to the detriment of Ted and his ne'er do well brother, Danny. He was an ultimate latch-key kid before that term was invented.

- Ted trained as a Marine pilot for WWII but the war ended before he could ship overseas. Korea was a different story. He flew numerous missions in a Grumman F-9 Panther jet fighter, one mission involving a fiery, crash landing on return to base. For you NYers, that plane was likely built at Grumman's LI plants at Bethpage or Calverton.

- Had Ted been a Navy pilot instead of a Marines pilot, he likely would not have been called up for Korea. The USN had sufficient fliers already on active duty, the Marines did not!

- As for his long-term female relationships (wives and companion), they can be summed up with "he was not the easiest guy to live with."  

- In terms of being interviewed by sportswriters, the better the day he'd have had at the plate, the worse his behavior would be. Conversely, he was far more friendly and amenable to their questions after going 0-4.  
« Last Edit: March 21, 2021, 11:23:01 AM by JoeC » Logged
doctordoowop
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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2021, 01:03:16 PM »

A surprise when I learned he is half Mexican.
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JoeC
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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2021, 03:03:12 PM »

Doc, I believe he had at most one-quarter Mexican heritage (think his mother had one native American parent and who knows what her geneology looks like, going back farther in time). Ted did go out of his way to keep that heritage hidden. Suspect it had to do with the times he lived in.

Another point I forgot was that a local neighborhood kid who new Ted in San Diego was Ray Boone. Boone was 5-6 years younger than Ted so they didn't compete directly. But they did know each other from the local playground, with Ray somewhat idolizing high school star Ted. Ray also went to Hoover (as did 1960s/70s utility IF Jerry DaVanon; and R&B musicians, Joe and Jimmy Liggins). The Liggins brothers would have been at Hoover with Ted.



« Last Edit: March 21, 2021, 03:18:18 PM by JoeC » Logged
doctordoowop
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2021, 12:58:12 AM »

Altho later Ted was praised for being in service during Korean war-- he tried like hell to get out of it.  BTW --wasnt the bullpen moved in for him? Why didnyt Yanks move wall for Joe?
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JoeC
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2021, 07:05:04 AM »

Altho later Ted was praised for being in service during Korean war-- he tried like hell to get out of it.  BTW --wasnt the bullpen moved in for him? Why didnyt Yanks move wall for Joe?
I think Ted thought being called on for a second war was a bit unjust. Most all Americans agreed with him, i.e., that he was being "used" to send a message that no "favoritism" was being shown to the famous. Regardless of his grumbling, he flew his 39 or whatever F-9 combat fighter missions over North Korea.

In WWII, Ted was trained to fly F4-U Corsair fighters and would have done that had the war not abruptly ended. In contrast, Joe D spent his service time at Hickam Field on Oahu playing ball for the entertainment of the officers. He should be credited for volunteering but ... unlike Ted, he was not eager to participate at the front. Who can blame him? I surely can't.
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Robb_K
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2021, 11:52:44 AM »

Altho later Ted was praised for being in service during Korean war-- he tried like hell to get out of it.  BTW --wasnt the bullpen moved in for him? Why didnyt Yanks move wall for Joe?

If ted hadn't lost those 5 Baseball seasons to The Armed Forces service, he'd have broken Babe Ruth's all-time total HR, record, as well as MLB's total RBI and Runs Scored records, plus, his lifetime BA might well have exceeded .350, instead of declining to .344.  At the end of 1957, he was at .350, after his .388 season.  Imagine him being at .357 at that time, had he not lost those 5 seasons of his prime.  Incredible!  In my opinion, he was the best pure hitter of all time.  And I'm glad he was a regular player who I got to watch play in person, throughout most of the period I was a baseball fan. 
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2021, 01:50:20 AM »

Robb-dont forget --in 1941 & several other yrs in the 40s  a sac fly  was counted as an OUT  I read  it cost hin 6-8 points  in 1941.
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