Monday, September 14, 2009

KV Yankee Chatter

There's been a lot of chatter amongst the KV loyal Yankee contingent, i.e. the Yankee top ten of all time, whether their pitching will hold up in a short series, who had the hottest wives, girl friends,etc. One story of interest is the unexpected (to me, at least) dislike of Joe DiMaggio in the 4th and 6th wards..."he was snooty, selfish, cheap, etc." However here's one nice story about him from Joe Bruno
One thing I forgot, but this shows Joe D could be nice when he wanted to. Which wasn't too often.
It was 1979 at an ALL Sports Dinner at the Downtown AC. I was a member there for 20 years. Rudy Riska, the head of the Heisman Committee was from Madison Street. He played in the minor leagues for the Yankees.
I brought my father to the dinner, He was 69 with late stage emphysema. He was walking with a cane I bought him that turned into a small stool. You see these canes at the race tracks.
The dinner was over and people were milling about. Joe D was sitting by himself at the table next to us, smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee.
My father staggered over to Joe D and said something to Joe D in Italian. My father was born in Italy and didn't know a baseball from a meatball, or a bocci ball. I knew better than to approach Joe D, but my father didn't care.
Next thing I knew, Joe D invites my father to sit next to him. They started talking in Italian for about 10 minutes. I'm sitting at the next table horrified.
Then Joe D offers my father a cigarette, which my father hadn't had for a few months because of his sickness. Joe D lights the cigarette for my father, then they continue talking in Italian.
People were leaving, so Joe D helps my father to his feet, hands him his cane and shakes my father's hand. Then he leaves.
I asked my father what they were talking about in Italian. My father said, "Just about Italy and Italian food."
My father said Joe D said he doesn't have many opportunities to speak to people in Italian. His own father never learned to speak English. My father's father was in the US for 67 years before he died, and he never spoke English either.
It was just Joe D being nice to a sick old man.
The reason I knew the exact year is because my father died in March 1980, and it was just a few months before he died that he spoke to Joe D.
So that's one good story about Joe D.

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