DiMaggio the autograph seeker
DECEMBER 9, 1987
– Joe DiMaggio
has given thousands of autographs, but on this date in 1987, Joltin Joe was an autograph seeker.
DiMaggio sent a baseball to the White House where President
and Soviet General
Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev were meeting. DiMaggio had been one of 126 guests at a state dinner at the White House the night before. He met President Reagan who introduced him to the Soviet leader. DiMaggio made the autograph request, and both Reagan and Gorbachev sounded willing.
Joe DiMaggio at Old Timer's game
All he needed was a baseball. With the help of the President’s daughter, Maureen Reagan, a baseball was in the hands of President Reagan as he and Gorbachev met the next day. She later had the ball with both world leaders' signatures shipped to DiMaggio’s
San Francisco home.
Mikhail Gorbachev & President Reagan
This was reportedly the only time Joe DiMaggio asked for an autograph. New York Times columnist Joseph Durso quoted DiMaggio as saying, “That day became one of the nicest days of my life, and one of the most meaningful.''
Bill Grimes is a member of SABR (The Society for American Baseball Research)