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.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.