Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yankee Clipper Back in the Bronx

          New York Yankee Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of his time––and in fact was voted the sport's greatest living player in a poll taken in the baseball centennial year of 1969–––hit a proverbial grand slam over the weekend at commemorative stamp events in Cooperstown NY and the Bronx.
Postal officials, local politicians, and New York Yankees representatives joined DiMaggio’s family in unveiling the Joe DiMaggio First Class forever stamp in front of a packed house at Bronx GPO.
Very honored, very proud, very exciting,” said DiMaggio’s granddaughter Kathie DiMaggio-Stein at the event. “I'm so glad that the US Postal Service decided to bestow this honor on him."
L to R: Bronx Borough Pres. Ruben Diaz Jr., Joe DiMaggio's grandaughter  Kathie DiMaggio-Stein, NY Marketing Mgr. Raschelle Parker, Bronx PM Howard Sample unveil stamp at Bronx GPO
The previous day, the Major League Baseball All-Star First Class stamp set, which along with DiMaggio includes Boston Red Sox Ted Williams, Pittsburgh Pirate Willie Stargell and Cleveland Indian Larry Doby was unveiled at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Sales & Service Associate Louis Pagan designed the winning
 postmark for the dedication
Hellgate Sales & Service Associate Louis Pagan won the New York District postmark contest and his design was used on the all the first day souvenirs sold in Manhattan and the Bronx.
          DiMaggio, the son of Italian immigrants, is of course best known for his record 56 consecutive games hitting streak. But that’s only part of the story.
Morgan P&DC General Clerk Joseph Morales sings
National Anthem at event 
The “Yankee Clipper” played center field during his entire 13-year career with the Yankees, won three Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards, was selected for the All Star game in every season he played and led the Yankees to ten pennants and nine World Series championships. At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in career home runs (361) and sixth in career slugging percentage (.579). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.
          Culturally, DiMaggio was at the forefront of breaking down the stereotypes that many Italian-Americans faced during his playing days. His parents were among the thousands of German, Japanese and Italian immigrants classified as "enemy aliens" by the government after Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan. They carried photo ID booklets at all times, and were not allowed to travel outside a five-mile radius from their home without a permit. His father, Giuseppe DiMaggio was barred from the San Francisco Bay, where he had fished for decades, and his boat was seized.
            DiMaggio’s marriage to Hollywood Actress Marilyn Monroe in 1954 was the premier high profile celebrity wedding, but despite the scandals and tragedies that ensued, the Mr. Coffee and Bowery Savings Bank endorsements, the reference in the Simon & Garfunkel song and the Ernest Hemmingway novel, DiMaggio remained a private person who took great pride in helping to raise funds to establish the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood Florida. It meant more to him than being elected to the Hall of Fame.
          “The saying that a person is not always remembered by what they say but by their actions holds true for this baseball Hall of Famer,” said NY District Marketing Manager and MC Raschelle Parker. “It is fitting that more than a half-century after his playing days ended; not only Yankees fans, but baseball fans everywhere honor major league baseball’s “Yankee Clipper” with a Forever First Class Postage Stamp.”  

 Sales & Service Associates set up tables for customers to purchase Joe DiMaggio commemoratives
 L to R:  SSAs Charlene Bazemore, Evelyn Boyd, Deven Ortiz, Joe DiMaggio's granddaughter
Kathie DiMaggio-Stein, Special Events Coord. Deborah Hart, SSA Dale Neil Cooper