THE TOAST OF THE TOWN

"There was never a guy like DiMaggio in baseball. The way people admired him, the way they admire him now. Everybody wanted to meet Joe, to touch him, to be around him- the big guys too. I'm not just talking about fans coming into the joint(Toots's New York City restaurant). Joe was a hero, a real, legitimate hero. You can't manufacture a hero like that. It just has to be there, the way he plays, the way he works, the way he is, the way other people related to him. Take (Jackie) Gleason. Nobody on television was bigger than Gleason. But Joe was a hero to him... Joe could halt business on Fifth Avenue by walking down the street. How many guys can do that?"-Toots Shor, NYC restaurant owner, and Joe DiMaggio's close friend.

Joe DiMaggio was infact the talk of the town. He was a star to the stars, a hero to the other heroes in America. His fame attracted not just the common man, but also others who had walked the path of success,others who had drank long and deep from the fountain of greatness. Yet, they too, could not seem to get enough of the great Joe DiMaggio.

"New York City was Joe's Town, and it will always be," said Toots Shor. What is remarkable, is that the other New York City "stars" didn't seem to mind playing second fiddle to DiMaggio. Instead, they were content to be in his prescence, to be surrounded by and engulfed by his aura. Edward Bennett Williams, DiMaggio's prominent lawyer, remembers one night, after DiMaggio had retired from baseball.

"Myself, Joe, Toots, and Ernest Hemingway went to the Robinson-Basilio fight, one of the greatest ever." According to Williams, as soon as the group walked into the arena, people everywhere began shouting Joe's name. He was immediately surrounded by fans shoving pens and autograph books in his face. One kid, smiling broadly after receiving an autograph from DiMaggio, looked up and saw Ernest Hemmingway. He stared at him and said, "Hey, you're somebdoy too, ain'tcha?" Hemingway quickly responded, "Yeah, I'm his doctor."

Williams claims that nobody had the kind of instant identification that Joe DiMaggio had in New York. New Yorkers champion Joe DiMaggio as their own, and associate him with all that is good about their city. He may have been born in San Francisco, but Joe DiMaggio was "made" in New York. Admist all the glitter and glow of America's landmark city, Joe DiMaggio's star shone the brightest. Today, the name Joe DiMaggio reminds people of what New York City used to be, the New York that was looked on as the finest city in the country, where all the kids in the Midwest and the down South aimed for (Durso 113).

Humble Beginnings| Becoming a Yankee| The Streak| Marilyn Monroe| Yankee Days| Being Joe DiMaggio| The Toast of the Town| The End of an Era| Has Joe D. gone anywhere?| The last inning

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