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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

How DiMaggio wound up in an A’s uniform

DiMaggio was born, raised and resided in the Bay Area. He had a home on Beach Street in San Francisco, a mere 18 miles from where the A’s would play their home games at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Just as importantly (knowing what we know about DiMaggio), the move made financial sense, too. DiMaggio had retired when he was just two years away from qualifying for Major League Baseball’s maximum pension allowance. This was a way to reach that threshold.

No doubt, Finley, a former insurance salesman, made a pitch every bit as effective as the ones DiMaggio had made for Buitoni and would eventually make for Mr. Coffee. DiMaggio signed a two-year contract to be the A’s executive vice president and consultant.

Just five weeks into that role, however, DiMaggio’s duties expanded. After spending some time among the A’s players at Spring Training, DiMaggio decide to accept an opportunity to be a full-time coach. But he laid down a couple ground rules: He would not coach first or third base, and he reserved the right to turn down banquet invitations.

Many people were understandably shocked that DiMaggio had taken the A’s role in the first place, let alone that he would coach for them. When reporters asked why he hadn’t ever taken a similar job with the Yankees, DiMaggio said he had never formally been offered one. The Yankees countered that DiMaggio had never indicated he was willing to accept such a role.

And so DiMaggio donned the green and gold.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 22, 2021 at 10:58 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, joe dimaggio

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: December 22, 2021 at 11:07 AM (#6058356)

and yes, it's as ghastly as you might imagine
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 22, 2021 at 11:22 AM (#6058359)
I figured the answer was "because everyone does, eventually."
   3. villageidiom Posted: December 22, 2021 at 11:58 AM (#6058366)
The Yankees countered that DiMaggio had never indicated he was willing to accept such a role.
Yes, we all know how hiring goes. First the candidate accepts the job offer. And then the job is offered. You'd think there would be a better system, but nope, that's the best we can do.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 22, 2021 at 12:21 PM (#6058372)
I think you have to inform the team that you would listen if they called.
   5. DL from MN Posted: December 22, 2021 at 12:31 PM (#6058374)
The picture of DiMaggio serving Reggie Jackson made my day. Also, I'm hungry now.
   6. Rally Posted: December 22, 2021 at 01:32 PM (#6058378)
Another case of people used to get old real fast back then. My first guess after seeing the pictures was Joe must have been in his 70s. And by my recollection, he didn’t look much different when he actually was in his 70s. But in the 1968 season, Joe was only 53.

Not really surprising, Earl Weaver and Sparky Anderson were in their 30’s that year but looked over 60.
   7. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 22, 2021 at 01:59 PM (#6058385)
Here's a photo from 1969 showing Ted Williams as a Senator and DiMaggio as an A together.
   8. John DiFool2 Posted: December 22, 2021 at 02:25 PM (#6058389)
It likely was all the smoking. No sunscreen back then either, for a pro athlete at least.
   9. GregD Posted: December 22, 2021 at 03:11 PM (#6058396)
The tone of this is odd. Guy comes back to coach in his home region, in the city where his brother played, is not exactly man bites dog.

DiMaggio generally stayed in the Bay Area whenever he could, and he loved money. I guess it's surprising the Giants didn't try to grab him first. But it would be surprising if he didn't end up taking some cash from one of the Bay teams. As with many other Yankee legends, he felt ill-used by the Yankees, right or wrong, and apparently kept that feeling until his death if the Creamer bio is right. (Though Joe's vision of what people owed him was infinite, to be fair.)

   10. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 22, 2021 at 04:56 PM (#6058405)
I guess it's surprising the Giants didn't try to grab him first.

Perhaps the Giants felt that their center fielder didn't need DiMaggio's tips on how to play defense? :-)
   11. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 22, 2021 at 10:17 PM (#6058441)
The portrait of DiMaggio in Cramer's book is devastating. A friend who'd also read it, and I referred to him afterward as the Yankee Light Tipper.
   12. Moeball Posted: December 23, 2021 at 12:26 AM (#6058450)
In every picture of DiMaggio he looks old and tired. I met him a few years before he died. He looked like he was exhausted. Ted, on the other hand, always seemed much more energetic and enthusiastic. He even winked at my wife, the old scoundrel!
   13. GregD Posted: December 23, 2021 at 12:59 AM (#6058451)
Steve Vucinich, the As equipment manager for decades became their employee the first year they moved from Kansas City in a way that fits my view of DiMaggio. He was hanging around the stands and DiMaggio yelled at him for not being in school and asked where he went. St Josephs. So DiMaggio hollers out, “this kid’s a Catholic. Give him a job.” Vucinich retired this year

Both Talese and Creamer came to the same conclusion: Joe absorbed his father’s vision of the world as clannish and driven by scarcity and never cared to rethink it in the way Dom did. Even if he did you a favor as he did Vucinich, it was because he decided you were momentarily more in his clan than out of it
   14. donlock Posted: December 23, 2021 at 04:21 PM (#6058510)
Didn’t know you got pension credits in the front office. Always assumed Joe only worked at home. If he went in the road, did he give pick-up tips to the young guys? He was also a leading scorer away from the park.

These anecdotes of him working with the kids are great. Most of what I have read said the Clipper was a surly, greedy old fart after retiring. The Bando and Rudi tutoring was nice to read. “Mr. DiMaggio, sir, could you help me hit the slider?”

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