Richard Ben Cramer on Joe DiMaggio: The Mirror Of A Nation

A while back, I wrote a post about Joe DiMaggio.

Then, while reading an article written about him after his death, I found a quote that I really liked:

“In Joe, the nation found a mirror for its best self. In the hard-knuckled ’30s, he was the Sicilian immigrant’s son who came from nothing, made it big. As the war drew nearer, he was our can-do poster boy, getting hits every day through the summer of ’41. In the war, he sacrificed his best years but came back as a winner—bigger than ever. In postwar wealth and ease, he was our Broadway Joe, squiring Miss Americas at the Stork Club…until he wooed and won, in Marilyn Monroe, the most beautiful girl America could dream up. And even when he lost that girl for good, in 1962, he was us, at the start of our decade of assassination and bereavement. He was, at every turn, our idea of the American hero—one man we could look at, who made us feel good. For it was always about how we felt…with Joe. That’s how it worked. No wonder we strove, for six decades—the nation, its presidents, its citizens, almost everyone—to give Joe the hero’s life. It was always about us.”


Justin and Heather Bland 9/3/08, 11:10 AM  

Great post! Love the quote! man... makes me want to have lived in those times.

Luke Dockery 9/5/08, 9:43 AM  


Thanks. I'm right there with you. A lot of our athletic heroes today don't seem to measure up.

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