Fascinating stuff in the Smoking Gun today regarding the Yankee Clipper: Joe DiMaggio’s army records, which paint him an a pretty unflattering light:
Despite a cushy job as a physical instructor in the Army’s Special
Services division, DiMaggio–who saw no combat, was never shipped
overseas, and spent many months stationed in Hawaii–exhibited a
“defective attitude toward the service” and a “conscious attitude of
hostility and resistance” when it came to his Army duties.
These withering critiques of DiMaggio came from two officers in the
Army’s Medical Corps. In separate reports written shortly before
DiMaggio’s discharge in September 1945, Major Emile G. Stoloff and Major
William G. Barrett each portrayed DiMaggio, then 30, as someone whose
“personal problems appeared to be of more consequence to him than his
obligations to adjust to the demands of the service.”
To be fair, the records indicate that DiMaggio had some personal issues at the time, most notably a recent divorce and some trouble with one of his brothers. There are also references to some belief that the army was exploiting him for P.R. purposes, which may have been true and may have sat with the notoriously complicated DiMaggio wrong. Less excusable, it seems, are references in the records to DiMaggio’s alleged malingering with stomach ailments and other things that army doctors could not confirm.
I’m sure that anyone who could shed more light on these reports or place them into a larger context based on first hand information is dead by now, but it’s odd stuff to be sure. Also stuff that, I’m guessing, won’t make it into any updates into those Yankee hagiographies you see on YES Network.