Anyway, I'm glad I read the book, but I wasn't thrilled with it. I don't know anything about Richard Ben Cramer, but I don't like his style or "attitude". Throughout the book, but particularly in the early chapters, he throws in a lot of Italin words and phrases in a way that, to me, sounds like he's saying "I love these simple folks".
DiMaggio was not a likeable man, but he was a GREAT baseball player. He was vain and wanted to be known as the best player in the game, but he played hurt, he played hard and he played to win - always.
DiMaggio was much more well known than any American athlete today. I would guess that only Babe Ruth and Muhammed Ali would come close in recognition. And, of course, he married (& divorced that scene from The Seven Year Itch was the straw that broke the camel's back) Marilyn Monroe. Posh & Becks are no where compared with that.
Favorite little snapshots:
- DiMaggio was asked why he played so hard in a late season game against the lowly Washington Senators after the Yankees had clinched the Pennant and were simply waiting for the World Series: ". . . because someone might be here who has never seen me play before".
- Marilyn Monroe, talking about their first date at a restaurant near Hollywood and how all these men came to their table, but none paid any attention to her: "No woman had ever put me in the shade like that before. These men didn't see me because of DiMaggio".
- Yankee manager Casey Stengel couldn't stand DiMaggio and the fact that he did things his own way. Casey's wife understood handling great players better than Casey did (or Mick McCarthy). When Casey asked his wife what was he supposed to do with DiMaggio, Mrs. Stengel replied, "Whatever Mr. DiMaggio wants, dear".