09 February 2015

a number memorial for the yankee clipper

joe dimaggio, teammate to lou gehrig and mickey mantle, died at the age of 84 on march 8, 1999.  he had played 13 years in the majors for the yankees (with 3 of his prime years spent in the military during world war ii), earning 3 mvp awards and 9 world series rings.

in response to his passing, the yankees added dimaggio's retired number 5 to their left sleeves for the 1999 season.  there are plenty of examples of this memorial, including the following cards:

2000 fleer tradition derek jeter alcs
2000 fleer ultra tino martinez
2000 topps stadium club ricky ledee
2000 topps chili davis
2000 topps bernie williams
2000 topps david cone
2000 topps derek jeter
2000 fleer gamers bernie williams
and this 2000 upper deck victory darryl strawberry
i'll take off on a tangent here.  in addition to giving us a close-up look at the number memorial thanks to the inset photo, this card also serves as a final tribute to strawberry's career
those are strawberry's final career stats - a far cry from where most people thought they would be when he retired based on his potential and his first few seasons with the mets.  strawberry played in about 150  fewer games than dimaggio, but he struck out almost 1000 more times than did joltin' joe.

here are the two cards i have in my collection for dimaggio's memorial - a 2000 upper deck mvp alfosno soriano scout's choice insert card that shows the white number memorial the yankees wore on their spring training jerseys
and derek jeter's 2000 fleer ultra card that shows the memorial on the yankee pinstripes
dimaggio was considered to be the 'classiest' yankee, and was perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak in 1941 and his short marriage to marilyn monroe. for the last 30 years of his life, he was also known (officially) as 'the greatest living ballplayer'.  here is dimaggio's obituary from the new york times which obviously expands on his life and impact far better than i could here.

indeed, 'joltin joe has left and gone away.'  so, (i know it's not the actual lyric from the simon & garfunkel song 'mrs. robinson', but…) here's to you, joe dimaggio.

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