DiMaggio walks away from the game with the same dignity he played it
“When baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game,” said Joe DiMaggio on Dec. 11, 1951. “And so, I’ve played my last game of ball.”
“All I can do is my best, and I’ll sure give that,” Mantle told the United Press after saying that he would not be able to fill DiMaggio’s shoes. “It’s a great break for me. Anybody would be crazy if he didn’t want to play with the Yankees. But I sure hate to see old Joe leaving the game.”
DiMaggio, meanwhile, forged ahead into a post-playing career that saw his star burn brighter than ever.
“I feel that I have reached the stage where I can no longer produce for my ball club, my manager, my teammates and my fans the sort of baseball their loyalty to me deserves,” DiMaggio said. “If I can’t give out what I want to give out, I don’t want to play.”
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum