Below is a link to a great article about Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio from the Boston Globe. H/T-William Wallace
People who know me are aware that I like Ted Williams. No, I never saw him play, but he was my Mom’s favorite so I kind of inherited an affinity for Teddy Ballgame along with my passion for baseball.
Here is a clip from the article, Two unmatched MLB stars, opposite in many ways:
On December 11th, 1951, Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement in New York.
The fabled Yankee Clipper, who had just turned 37, said his decision was prompted by advancing years, a spate of physical ailments and the simple realization that as a player, “I no longer have it.”
Addressing a gaggle of reporters, photographers and newsreel cameras at the Yankees’ Manhattan offices in Squibb Tower, Joe said that “when baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game. And so, I’ve played my last game of ball.”
Responding to questions, he said his greatest thrills had been the 56-game hitting streak of 1941, and his smashing return to baseball in Boston during the summer of 1949, when he belted four home runs in three days after missing the first 65 games of the season due to a heel injury. Asked whom he considered the greatest of present-day hitters, Joe replied: “Ted Williams. He is by far the greatest natural hitter I ever saw.”
The heir to Ruth and Gehrig, DiMaggio had personified a certain graceful nobility, and the Yankee aura of success and invincibility during his relatively short career spanning 1936-1951, with three years out for World War II. In Joe’s 13 seasons of supple-but-sparkling defensive play and prodigious, clutch hitting, the Yankees won an astonishing 10 pennants and nine World Series, a record that served only to put a sheen on his skills and reputation, and define him as a winner.
DiMaggio’s acknowledgment of Williams at his farewell press conference was fitting since the two were by far the dominant players of their era — baseball’s Golden Age — and came to be joined at the hip in fan discourse. During their careers and into their retirements, there were endless debates about who the better player was, or who was most valuable to his team, and both men remained rivals for the rest of their lives. For Ted, the rivalry was friendly. For Joe it was fierce.
The two were opposites in many respects.
DiMaggio was shy, backward and hardly spoke at all. Traveling in a car across country in 1936 to his first spring training as a Yankee with fellow San Franciscans Tony Lazzeri and Frankie Crosetti, Joe never uttered a word, until he was asked if he would like to share the driving, whereupon he said he didn’t drive.
Williams, on the other hand, was a chatterbox, with a boisterous, voluble personality and a curious mind. Joe, whose teammates called him the Sphinx, was stolid. Where Ted was explosive and colorful, Joe made it a point to conceal his emotions.
Check out the rest of the story here.
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