A revealing account of the great Baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio from the man who knew him best in the last ten years of his life—“a rare, intimate portrait…that pries open Joltin’ Joe’s perpetually buttoned-up privacy” (The New York Times) with stories about the Yankees, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and other celebrities.
In 1990, Dr. Rock Positano, a thirty-two-year-old foot and ankle specialist, met Joe DiMaggio. Despite the forty years between them, an unlikely friendship developed after the doctor successfully treated the baseball champ’s heel spur injury. Joe mentored Rock but came to rely on his young friend to show him a good time in New York, the town that made him a legend. In time, the famously reserved DiMaggio opened up to Dr. Positano and talked about his joys, his disappointments, and his sorrows as he reflected on his extraordinary life. The stories and experiences he shared with Dr. Positano comprise an intimate portrait of one of the great stars of baseball and icon of the twentieth century.
“Readers do not have to be baseball fans to be captivated by this memoir, which explores such universal themes as friendship, celebrity, aging, and mortality” (Library Journal, starred review). DiMaggio was a complicated figure—sometimes demanding, sometimes big-hearted, always impeccable, loyal, and a true stand-up guy. This memoir of a decade-long friendship reveals the very private DiMaggio as “a wholly human portrait of an American icon navigating his way through an adoring yet relentlessly demanding public” (Booklist, starred review), while serving up illuminating stories and rare insights about the people in his life, including his teammates, Muhammad Ali, Sandy Koufax, Woody Allen, and many more.
Dr. Rock G. Positano is the Director of the Non-Surgical Foot and Ankle Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, where he has been on staff since 1991. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine, where his thesis on foot health was approved, with Honors and Distinction. He is a clinical assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is internationally known for his non-surgical approach for the treatment of foot disorders. Visit him at HSS.edu/Physicians_Positano-Rock.asp. Dinner with DiMaggio is his first book.
John A. Positano, Esq., is associate producer of The Joe Piscopo Show, which airs daily on AM970, and the weekly Live From Downtown New York City. He graduated from New York Law School. In addition to arguing federal cases, he has written articles on the military, law, and surfing for the LI Pulse, Huffington Post, and Daily News (New York). He lives near Stony Brook, New York.
"Pries open Joltin’ Joe’s perpetually buttoned-up privacy. . . . A rare, intimate portrait of a man so audacious that he left Marilyn Monroe."
– Sam Roberts, The New York Times
“His baseball accomplishments, impressive and historic as they are, do not alone explain why DiMaggio's name still resonates as it does. His importance is connected to a particular place and time in the history of the game, and the country. Hemingway referenced DiMaggio. So did Paul Simon. A line from the early 40's song ‘Joltin' Joe DiMaggio’ by the Les Brown Orchestra goes like this: He lives in baseball's Hall of Fame, he got there blow-by-blow, our kids will tell their kids his name, Joltin' Joe DiMaggio. Turns out that was true.”
– Bob Costas
“The narrative provides wonderful glimpses of DiMaggio's integrity, kindness, and sensitivity, portraying him as a complicated man who jealously guarded his image.”
– Publishers Weekly
“So many special things about Joe DiMaggio are revealed by this book: his love of children, his contempt of pretense, and his iconic place in American history. Joe was quiet, not silent, about the pivotal events of the twentieth century, and he shared them with Dr. Rock Positano: Marilyn, the Kennedys, Frank Sinatra, and so many fascinating anecdotes add flesh to the bare bones of this iconic American. He was a true American original.”
– Arianna Huffington
“Readers do not have to be baseball fans to be captivated by this memoir, which explores such universal themes as friendship, celebrity, aging, and mortality.”
– Library Journal (starred review)
“An unpretentious but nonetheless lyrical, memoiristic paean to a relationship that was gradually built with mutual effort and escalating warmth. . . . This is a book about conviviality . . . but it is also a book with a searching and often melancholic heart that engages fully with love, loss, estrangement, disappointment, decline and the nature of success and legacy. . . . There is much to cherish in this book.”
– Adam Hanft, Medium
"Joe Di Maggio brought a unique excitement to New York City, his adopted home town, which extended beyond baseball. Joe's great friend Dr. Rock Positano conveys the excitement of DiMaggio's reign beautifully in this book. It is a thrill to read from cover to cover."
– David N. Dinkins, 106th Mayor, City of New York
“Joe DiMaggio and Rock Positano were fortunate to have found each other. A genuine hero in need of a genuine healer. Each an expert in his field. Rock’s professional skills matched by his kindness and generosity of spirit. There will never be another Joe. But we are all fortunate to have the equally singular Rock still exercising his skills as both doctor and friend.”
– Frank Langella
“Baseball fans will savor DiMaggio's views about Ted Williams, Pete Rose, and many other famous players.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“Positano renders a wholly human portrait of an American icon navigating his way through an adoring yet relentlessly demanding public.”
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