Centerfielder Joe DiMaggio (1914-1999) was born to play baseball and once explained, "If you keep thinking about what you want to do or what you hope will happen, you don't do it, and it won't happen."
Born Joseph Paul DiMaggio on this day in the fishing village of Martinez, California, the son of Italian immigrants, he was known for his amazing ball playing and headline-grabbing marriage to actress Marilyn Monroe.
"Joltin' Joe" inherited the hero crown passed down from Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and led his Yankees to 10 American League pennants and nine World Series championships. His 13-season career was interrupted by three years of military service.
DiMaggio was the "unquestioned hero from an innocent time" that Paul Simon called out for in his classic song, Mrs. Robinson (1967): "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? A Nation turns its lonely eyes to you."
Quiet, polite, as graceful as a gazelle, DiMaggio hit safely in 56 consecutive games, a legendary feat of unparalleled proportions. About his professional commitment to excellence, DiMaggio once explained, "There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first time or last time. I owe him my best."
In 1992, the beloved "Yankee Clipper" established and continued to raise money for the award-winning Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. In keeping with his dream, the hospital continues to provide high-quality medical care to all children, regardless of their ability to pay.
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Celebrate what you were born to do.