Tag Archives: Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio Promotes Camel Cigarettes

Joltin’ Joe Enjoys Smoking Camel, The Cigarette With 28% Less Nicotine

Joe DiMaggio’s swing takes up half the space in this Camel cigarette ad which ran in Time Magazine April 6, 1942. It’s as good a way to promote smoking than just showing DiMaggio smoking.

Capturing reader’s attention is always the hard part of magazine advertising. So the series of photos of DiMaggio’s swing probably gets you to examine the page. Generally people buy news magazines to read them, not look at the ads.

Companies have always believed that to attract customers, you should have a celebrity push your product. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #146 – W.C. Fields & Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio Visits W.C. Fields On The Set Of You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man – 1939

Comedian W.C. Fields does not strike me as someone who would have had any passion for baseball. In James Curtis’ comprehensive 2003 biography of Fields, not one page mentions baseball or any player of the National Pastime. So the news caption below for this photograph is pure Hollywood ballyhoo. Continue reading

Joe DiMaggio Ends His Holdout For More $

Joe DiMaggio Signs A Contract, Then Autographs For Fans – April 23, 1938

Back In Harness With Fanfare
Back in his Yankee uniform after a long holdout, Joe DiMaggio is shown April 23 in the home ballpark in New York City as he obliged autograph-seeking youngsters in the bleachers. The San Francisco slugger expected to be in playing form within a week. The Washington Nationals celebrated DiMaggio’s presence in the park by beating the Yanks 7-4. Photo: Associated Press April 23, 1938

Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez recently signed a seven year $141 million contract. Mets pitcher Max Scherzer will earn $43,333,333 in 2022. Mike Trout possibly the best position player today will earn $35,541,667 playing for the Angels this year.

In 1937 Joe DiMaggio’s second year in the majors, he played 151 games, scored 151 runs, with 215 hits, 46 home runs, 167 RBIs and posted a .346 batting average. He also walked 67 times while striking out only 37 times.

DiMaggio was paid $15,000. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #78 – Marilyn Monroe and Alan Ladd

Marilyn Monroe’s First Public Appearance In Hollywood After Her Marriage To Joe DiMaggio – 1954

Alan Ladd Marilyn Monroe

Hollywood – March 9 – Marilyn Wows Movie Crowd – Marilyn Monroe made her first public appearance in Hollywood last night since her marriage to Joe DiMaggio and her trip to Japan and Korea, and promptly stole the show. She showed up with a new platinum-blonde hairdo and wearing a low-cut white satin sheath gown. The occasion was Photoplay magazine’s annual awards dinner at which she and Alan Ladd, with whom she’s pictured, were named Hollywood’s most popular actress and actor. (AP wirephoto 1954)

Marilyn Monroe and Alan Ladd may have been Hollywood’s most popular actress and actor, yet neither was ever nominated for an Academy Award. Continue reading

Players Who Could Wallop A Baseball & Rarely Struck Out

Sluggers With Discriminating Eyes

Players With 25 or More Home Runs In A Season & Fewer Strikeouts Than Home Runs

Johnny Mize hit the most home runs in a season, having more homers (51) than strikeouts (42)

As baseball commentators rave about all the power hitters with their prodigious home run numbers, few broadcasters and writers will allude to the obscene strikeout totals put up by these same power hitters.

Not that most players are capable of hitting a lot of home runs and avoiding striking out, but the great players of the past could.

This list from baseball-reference.com shows the top 37 players with more home runs than strikeouts in a season.

Rank Player HR SO Year Tm G AB H RBI BB BA
1 Johnny Mize 51 42 1947 NYG 154 586 177 138 74 .302
2 Ted Kluszewski 49 35 1954 CIN 149 573 187 141 78 .326
3 Lou Gehrig 49 46 1936 NYY 155 579 205 152 130 .354
4 Lou Gehrig 49 31 1934 NYY 154 579 210 165 109 .363
5 Ted Kluszewski 47 40 1955 CIN 153 612 192 113 66 .314
6 Joe DiMaggio 46 37 1937 NYY 151 621 215 167 64 .346
7 Barry Bonds 45 41 2004 SFG 147 373 135 101 232 .362
8 Mel Ott 42 38 1929 NYG 150 545 179 151 113 .328
9 Ted Kluszewski 40 34 1953 CIN 149 570 180 108 55 .316
10 Johnny Mize 40 37 1948 NYG 152 560 162 125 94 .289
11 Joe DiMaggio 39 30 1948 NYY 153 594 190 155 67 .320
12 Stan Musial 39 34 1948 STL 155 611 230 131 79 .376
13 Ken Williams 39 31 1922 SLB 153 585 194 155 74 .332
14 Ted Williams 37 27 1941 BOS 143 456 185 120 147 .406
15 Andy Pafko 36 32 1950 CHC 146 514 156 92 69 .304
16 Willard Marshall 36 30 1947 NYG 155 587 171 107 67 .291
17 Al Simmons 36 34 1930 PHA 138 554 211 165 39 .381
18 Ted Kluszewski 35 31 1956 CIN 138 517 156 102 49 .302
19 Joe DiMaggio 32 21 1938 NYY 145 599 194 140 59 .324
20 Lefty O’Doul 32 19 1929 PHI 154 638 254 122 76 .398
21 Joe DiMaggio 31 30 1940 NYY 132 508 179 133 61 .352
22 Yogi Berra 30 29 1956 NYY 140 521 155 105 65 .298
23 Yogi Berra 30 24 1952 NYY 142 534 146 98 66 .273
24 Joe DiMaggio 30 13 1941 NYY 139 541 193 125 76 .357
25 Joe DiMaggio 30 20 1939 NYY 120 462 176 126 52 .381
26 Bill Dickey 29 22 1937 NYY 140 530 176 133 73 .332
27 Ted Williams 28 24 1955 BOS 98 320 114 83 91 .356
28 Yogi Berra 28 12 1950 NYY 151 597 192 124 55 .322
29 Ted Williams 28 21 1950 BOS 89 334 106 97 82 .317
30 Tommy Holmes 28 9 1945 BSN 154 636 224 117 70 .352
31 Bill Terry 28 23 1932 NYG 154 643 225 117 32 .350
32 Yogi Berra 27 20 1955 NYY 147 541 147 108 60 .272
33 Yogi Berra 27 20 1951 NYY 141 547 161 88 44 .294
34 Bill Dickey 27 22 1938 NYY 132 454 142 115 75 .313
35 Johnny Mize 25 24 1950 NYY 90 274 76 72 29 .277
36 Joe DiMaggio 25 24 1946 NYY 132 503 146 95 59 .290
37 Ken Williams 25 14 1925 SLB 102 411 136 105 37 .331

It’s a rarity today to find players with a great batting eye and good power like, Joey Votto. Continue reading

New York Yankees Old Timer’s Day Has Become Mediocre Ex-Yankee Day

Why The New York Yankees Old Timer’s Day Has Become A Joke

1955 Old Timer’s Day (l-r) Frank Home Run Baker, Ray Schalk, Dazzy Vance, Ted Lyons, Gabby Hartnett and Joe DiMaggio (photo: Acme)

Sunday June 25, 2017 the New York Yankees will hold their 71st Old TImer’s Day.

There was a time when baseball’s immortals and Gods showed up at Old Timer’s Day games. Take a look at this video below and you can understand my disappointment at what passes today for Yankees Old Timer’s Day. If  you have any sense of the history of baseball, this assemblage of players at Yankee Stadium taped on the field by Greg Peterson in 1982 will blow you away.

Maybe the disappointment stems from the fact that with a few exceptions there are almost no former Yankee players of the Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Lefty Gomez, Waite Hoyt; Allie Reynolds; Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra caliber still living. The pomp and ceremony of recent Yankees Old Timer’s Day is now somewhat revolting to watch.

Old-Timers Day started with a gathering unlike any other. In 1939 former Yankee teammates of Lou Gehrig gathered to honor him after he had stopped playing due to contracting the illness, (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) that would eventually take his life and now bears his name. It was at this occasion that Gehrig made his “luckiest man on the face of the earth,” speech.

Starting in the 1940s, Yankees Old Timer’s Day became an annual event where former baseball stars from other teams squared off against former Yankee greats. The players who graced the field at Yankee Stadium to play in a spirited and fun exhibition game were among the best to ever play the game. Over the years other teams held their own Old Timer’s Day. Now the Yankees are the only team in baseball that still holds an Old Timer’s Day .

At previous Old Timer’s Day fans would see opponents such as; Ty Cobb; Lefty Grove; Dizzy Dean; Al Kaline; Stan Musial; Ted Williams; Warren Spahn; Hank Greenberg; Bob Feller; Bill Terry; Pee Wee Reese; Duke Snider; Willie Mays and dozens of other “real” stars.

A collection of Hall Of Fame participants at the 1968 Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium (l-r) Red Ruffing; Bill Terry; Luke Appling; Bill Dickey; Joe Medwick; Frankie Frisch; Pie Traynor; Joe DiMaggio; Bob Feller and Lefty Grove.

As the Hall-of Famer’s and greats started passing away the names showing up at Old Timer’s Day gradually became less glamorous, until they started delving into quasi-stars and then marginal players.

I am not certain when exactly it ended, but the Yankees stopped inviting players from other teams to participate in Old Timer’s Day.

Over the last 15 years, you may have noticed Old Timer’s Day has become a Yankee love-fest of a few former stars such as Paul O’Neil, Roy White, Willie Randolph, Joe Pepitone and a lot of what can best be described as one season wonders or ordinary ex-Yankee players.

There are still some great former Yankee players who show up to participate in the festivities most notably Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Goose Gossage and this year a rare visit by Sparky Lyle.

Many of players the Yankees invite to Old Timer’s Day are nondescript. Yankee management must feel that today’s fans prefer seeing some of these “greats” that have participated in Old Timer’s Day over the last few years:

Brian Boehringer; Scott Bradley; Homer Bush; Bubba Crosby; Chad Curtis; Brian Dorsett;  Dave Eiland; John Flaherty; Bobby Meacham; Jerry Narron; Matt Nokes; Dan Pasqua; Gil Patterson; Andy Phillips; Aaron Small; Tanyon Sturtze; Marcus Thames and others of that ilk. Continue reading

Marilyn Monroe’s 90th Birthday

June 1, 2016 Would Have Been Marilyn Monroe’s 90th Birthday

10 Rare Photographs From Her Life

A simply stunning unadorned Marilyn Monroe at agent Johnny Hyde's home 1950 photograph: Earl Leaf

A simply stunning, unadorned Marilyn Monroe at agent Johnny Hyde’s home 1950 photograph: Earl Leaf

June 1 marks Marilyn Monroe’s 90th birthday. We have pondered this before: what would an elderly Marilyn Monroe have been like? Reclusive and mentally ill like her mother was? Elder stateswoman of the movies and spokesperson for women’s rights? It’s all conjecture, there’s obviously no clear answer.

Marilyn Monroe at age 11 when she was just Norma Jeane Baker

Marilyn Monroe at age 11 when she was just Norma Jeane Baker

As much as Marilyn accomplished, her life was unfulfilled. No babies, no aging to segue into nuanced character roles in films, no Broadway or television career, no venturing into social activism on issues that would have concerned her.

When Marilyn died at the age of 36 in 1962, she became immortalized in ways that probably would have amused her. The movie goddess is still forever young, and has become an icon of many things: the 1950s; glamor; gay rights; womanhood and sex to name a few.

As time passes and the people who actually knew her pass away, Marilyn becomes more of a figurehead of a time rather than a once living flesh and blood person. Authors are drawn to Marilyn and have made her the subject of hundreds of books and millions of words analyzing her without knowing her.

Marilyn Monroe in a publicity photo for Hometown Story a rarely seen 1950 film which includes Alan Hale Jr. (yes, the Skipper from Gilligan's Island!)

Marilyn Monroe in a publicity photo for Hometown Story a rarely seen 1951 film which includes Donald Crisp, Jeffrey Lynn and Alan Hale Jr. (yes, the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island!)

This literary interest in every aspect of Marilyn’s life was not displayed when she was alive. Only six books were written about her during her lifetime. True, there were the articles in magazines that gave superficial glimpses into her life. But Marilyn and the publicity machine that surrounded her obfuscated much of who she really was.

Marilyn Monroe in a parka 1951 photograph: JR Eyerman

Marilyn Monroe in a parka 1951 photograph: JR Eyerman

Continue reading

The Strikeout: The Rise and Acceptance of Baseball’s Unproductive Out

Hitters Never Used To Strikeout Like This

Chris Carter does what he does best: strikes out. photo: Houston Chronicle

Chris Carter does what he does best: strikes out. photo: Houston Chronicle

We are not even at the end of June and yesterday I read that the Astros Chris Carter had struck out 102 times so far this season. Carter is batting .198 with 13 home runs. The Astros as a team have struck out 728 times.

Those statistics are appalling and yet no one in baseball circles talks about it. Had they been playing thirty or more years ago players like Chris Carter, Mark Reynolds and the recently retired Adam Dunn most likely would not have been on a major league roster. Hitting thirty or more home runs, and batting .220 or under and striking out around one third of your plate appearances would have insured that you would not be around the big leagues very long.

But those days are over. Apparently there is no shame in striking out consistently if you can hit a few homers. Many teams apparently covet these one dimensional players and give them big contracts if they can hit some dingers.

The 1935 starting infield of the Detroit Tigers from left to right Charlie Gehringer, Billy Rogell, Hank Greenberg and Marv Owen. They combined for 173 strikeouts.

1935 starting infield of the Detroit Tigers (l to r) Charlie Gehringer, Billy Rogell, Hank Greenberg & Marv Owen. They combined for 173 of the team’s 453 strikeouts.

Contrast today’s strikeout numbers with baseball’s glory days and the statistics are startling. For instance, the 1935 Detroit Tigers hitters had 453 strikeouts in total.

Almost every starting player on the team had more walks than strikeouts.

Even the Tigers pitchers only struck out a combined 84 times in 549 plate appearances.

Tigers 1935 stats via baseball-reference.com Hank Greenberg led the team with 91 strikeouts, while hitting 36 home runs and driving in an astounding 168 runs. Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane batted .319 and struck out a total of only 15 times. Continue reading

An Interview With Avery Corman “My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir”

Avery Corman, Author of Kramer vs. Kramer, Talks About His Latest Book: My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir

My Old Neighborhood RememberedThe neighborhood is the Bronx. The time is World War II and the post war years. And the writer is Avery Corman. His newest book My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir (2014) Barricade Books, is his first non-fiction book and is filled with wonderful recollections of growing up.

After graduating college Corman was working on the fringes of advertising and with the encouragement of a friend, Herb Gardner (A Thousand Clowns; I’m Not Rappaport; etc), he took a stab at writing a book. That effort was published as Oh God! A Novel (1971). After that hurdle Corman never looked back and he became a full-time novelist. Oh God! was eventually made into a very popular movie in 1977 starring George Burns and John Denver.

Some of Corman’s other acclaimed novels include The Bust-Out King (1977), The Old Neighborhood (1980); 50 (1987); Prized Possessions (1991); The Boyfriend from Hell (2006) and his most famous work, Kramer vs. Kramer (1977) which was adapted into a movie in 1979 and was the winner of five Academy Awards including Best Picture.

Avery Corman’s success must partially stem from his middle-class upbringing in the Fordham section of the Bronx during the 1940’s and 50’s, where he admits he was not the best student when it came to math and science, but did well in the humanities and was surrounded by a loving, extended family.

My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir is more a series of vignettes rather than a straight autobiography and that style comes off well. Corman shares his memories of childhood during World War II up until he becomes a successful author in the late 1960’s. He paints beautiful word pictures, sometimes tinged with sadness, of growing up in a wondrous place that no longer exists. Most of the stories offer short bursts of family life, games, food, education, sports and all the things that contributed to making the Bronx a special place to grow up in.

Corman’s stories resonate with a tender glow of friendships, family and the feeling that neighborhoods were once really neighborhoods, where the familiarity of rituals, people and places were ingrained in the surroundings.

Here are parts one and two of an exclusive interview with Avery Corman.

Part I, Avery Corman talks about what made the Bronx a special place during the war. His unique living situation and school life.

In part II Corman Continue reading

1949 Yankees All-Stars – DiMaggio, Berra, Henrich, Reynolds & Raschi

New York Yankees All-Stars Of Yesteryear

Vic Raschi Tommy Henrich Joe DiMaggio Allie Reynolds Yogi Berra Yanks All Stars July 6 1949 photo © Acme

In 2014, the struggling New York Yankees have three players that were named to the All-Star team: Derek Jeter, Dellin Betances and Masahiro Tanaka, who will not play because of an elbow injury.

In 1949 the Yankees had five players play on the All-Star team. Seen in this photo from left to right are Vic Raschi, Tommy Henrich, Joe DiMaggio, Allie Reynolds and Yogi Berra.

There were 32,577 fans in attendance in what turned out to be a slugfest at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, as the American League topped the National League 11-7. Joe DiMaggio drove in three runs and Vic Raschi pitched three scoreless innings to get the save.