Joe DiMaggio: A Hero in Deep Center

Joe DiMaggio was as unknowable as he was unforgettable

One sign of a hero is if you feel enhanced simply when talking about him--recounting his feats, recalling a time when your own little life was touched by his. Last week people who know baseball were lit up talking about "the great DiMaggio," as Hemingway's old man called him; his death bequeathed that final gift. I chatted with Roger Angell, the baseball writer, and remarked upon that well-known yet unbelievable statistic: 361 lifetime home runs, 369 lifetime strikeouts. Angell made the point finer when he noted that in 1941, in 541 at bats, DiMaggio struck out only 13 times. Then the...

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