Joe DiMaggio is one of the most recognizable names in baseball history. It’s been almost 70 years since he last played a game yet his legendary name can still roll off the tongue of even the most casual MLB fan. What some don’t realize, however, is that DiMaggio attracted even more attention in the ’50s due to his famous wife: Marilyn Monroe.
Their marriage was short-lived, but their romance lasted for far longer. In fact, DiMaggio never quite recovered from the star’s death even years after it happened.
Joe DiMaggio’s MLB career
DiMaggio played one of the most glamorous positions in all of baseball: centerfielder for the New York Yankees. Other famous players at the position include luminaries such as Earle Combs, Mickey Mantle, and Bernie Williams. DiMaggio was truly one of the greatest players to play for the Yankees, an organization with no shortage of Hall of Fame talent.
According to Baseball-Reference, DiMaggio hit .325 over the course of his career with 361 home runs and an on-base percentage of .398. He helped the Yankees win nine World Series championships despite missing three years due to serving his country in World War II. DiMaggio also finished his career with three MVP awards. He set a record for the longest hitting streak, getting a hit in 56 consecutive games.
While his on-field play catapulted him to baseball stardom, DiMaggio’s presence on the most recognizable team in baseball, playing its most high profile position, made him a national figure.
Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe’s marriage
DiMaggio was famous for guarding his private life from the public. Despite his introversion, he couldn’t resist falling for one of the most famous women in the world. Following his baseball career, DiMaggio married Monroe, a Hollywood star and sex symbol.
It seemed like a match made in heaven; the most recognizable woman on the planet marrying the former centerfielder for the New York Yankees, the greatest team in all of sports. Unfortunately, the marriage ultimately wasn’t successful. DiMaggio and Monroe’s union lasted for less than one year.
Joe DiMaggio’s tragic infatuation with Marilyn Monroe
According to Women Working, DiMaggio was overly possessive of Monroe, which led to their marriage crumbling. Their bond never ended, however. Monroe experienced personal and medical issues and was hospitalized in 1961. DiMaggio came to her bedside as a show of support. He wanted to remarry her, but sadly, Monroe passed away in 1962 before he could.
When Monroe died, DiMaggio handled the funeral arrangements, even creating the design for her headstone. The media said he was inconsolable after it happened, even saying: “I’ll go to the grave regretting and blaming myself for what happened to her … Sinatra told me later that ‘Marilyn loved me anyway, to the end.'”
DiMaggio could also be heard whispering, “I love you, I love you” over and over again at the ceremony. Just how committed to Monroe was DiMaggio? Even in death, he wanted to show his love for her. Until DiMaggio died himself 37 years later in 1999, he had six roses sent to her grave three times a week. DiMaggio’s last words, according to his lawyer, were “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn again.”
DiMaggio and Monroe may not have ended up together, but it was clear that their love was strong. The two may not have been able to make their marriage work, but there’s little doubt that Monroe remained the love of DiMaggio’s life.