THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

"Never stand on the outside looking in unless it is a jail," said a San Francisco Seals scout to a young Joe DiMaggio who, not having enough money to purchase a ticket to his brother Tom's game, had to peer through a hole in the outfield fence to witness the action."

In 1932, the Seals were about as high as a San Francisco youth could ever hope to go in baseball. The major leagues were a far away dream, an unreal hope for most (Allen, 27). Joe DiMaggio made his professional debut in the final week of the 1932 season as a shortstop. In his first at bat, he laced a triple. He had no contract, he received no money, but he impressed the ownership and management of the Seals enough to be invited to spring training in 1933. In his rookie season with the Seals, he batted .340, lead the league with 169 RBIs, and belted 28 homeruns.

At the age of 18, Joe DiMaggio became an instant celebrity. He tore up the Pacific Coast League pitching, astounding all who saw him play. He impressed the New York Yankees enough to cause Yankee owner Colonel Jacob Ruppert to buy him. In 1935, DiMaggio finished his minor league career batting .398 with 154 RBIs and 34 homeruns.

Said DiMaggio, "I was cocky, confident, call it what you want. I knew I could play, but I kept it inside myself, inside my shell."(Allen, 31)

In 1936, DiMaggio arrived at Yankee spring training. He was welcomed by the manager Joe McCarthy, and the team's current star, Lou Gherig. Yet, despite his impressive minor league statistics, DiMaggio knew he was only a rookie, and that he would have to earn the respect of his teammates by "letting his bat and glove do talking." He did just that, hitting line drives all over the place, causing World Telegram and Sun report Dan Daniel to take one look at the young DiMaggio and proclaim "Here is the replacement for Babe Ruth".

Frank Crosetti, DiMaggio's teammate from 1936-1948 claimed that DiMaggio never got the credit he deserved. "Joe didn't push himself on the writers. Everybody took him for granted. He just made everything look easy..." "He was a great ball player and a high class guy."(Allen, 34).

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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