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.
After the Cubs won the World Series last month — their first since 1908 — owner Tom Ricketts said he plans to reach out to Steve Bartman to provide “closure.”
Bartman was the fan who interfered with left fielder Moises Alou’s attempt to catch a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS against the Marlins. Alou was particularly irate about Bartman’s presence and it led to the fan becoming persona non grata in Chicago. In the time since, even before the Cubs won the World Series, the club has tried to make amends but Bartman has rejected offers to speak publicly and he has also rejected invitations to Wrigley Field.
Alou pledged to make time to attend any ceremony the Cubs stage for Bartman, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times reports.
Alou said, “Why not? I’d like to meet Bartman.” He continued, “I have nothing against the guy. I said it right after the game. I had the ball, and I got upset, but at the same time it’s not that kid’s fault. Everybody goes to the ballpark, and they bring a glove. Every wants to catch a fly ball.” However, He still maintains that he would have caught the ball if he had not been impeded.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.
Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.
The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.