(Copyright 1999. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

March 15, 1999

--- Opinion ---

Dimaggio leaves irreplaceable void

By COLLIN SEGUIN
The Tattoo

He defined an era in American history.  His legend
went beyond just sports, making him an American
icon.  Now, he's gone.

When Joe Dimaggio died on March 6, he took with
him one of the greatest icons in the 20th century.
There is the baseball side of this, playing 13 years,
ending with a .300 plus batting average, 361 home
runs, and one of the greatest records in pro sports.

Dimaggio's 56-game hitting streak in 1941, combined
with the .406 batting average of Ted Williams, made
for one of the most memorable seasons in baseball
history.

He stepped away on his own terms, not wanting the
people to see anything less than his best. Dimaggio
played with an unequaled grace, a grace that made it
tough to believe that he was one of the hardest
workers the game has ever seen.  He often said that he
always played hard because someone might be seeing
him play for the first time.

It was this quiet elegance that made him a star off the
field as well. He appeared in numerous songs, and was
revered by Hemingway's poor fisherman in The Old
Man and the Sea. He was married to Marilyn Monroe
for less than a year, and remained in the public eye for
the rest of his life.

Even in his dying months, the press was still drawn
to this man who had once seemed so strong, so
indestructible.

 The fact is that this son of poor Italian immigrants
transcended sports, making himself a bonafide
American hero.

He never reached out for attention; instead, the
attention always reached out to him.

We have not seen his equal yet, and we may never see
anyone whose importance approaches Joltin' Joe's. We
were lucky to have this superhero walk among us
mere mortals for as long as he did, fighting until the
end. Now, God is lucky to have the Yankee Clipper
with him.


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