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  •   Tributes to Joe DiMaggio

    Bud Selig | George Steinbrenner | Tommy Lasorda | President Clinton |  Al Kaline

    Associated Press
    Monday, March 8, 1999; 9:31 a.m. EST

    Commissioner Bud Selig
    "All of baseball is deeply saddened by the passing of the Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio. For several generations of baseball fans, Joe was the personification of grace, class and dignity on the baseball diamond. His persona extended beyond the playing field and touched all our hearts. In many respects, as an immigrant's son, he represented the hopes and ideals of our great country.

    "Joe DiMaggio was a hero in the truest sense of the word. I idolized him from afar as a chld growing up in Milwaukee. In later years, when I had the opportunity to become acquainted with him, my admiration grew. Being with him was an event, bringing on an air of excitement, anticipation and joy.

    "Major League Baseball offers its condolences not only to members of the family but to baseball fans everywhere."

    New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner
    "Like many fans across America, and indeed around the world, the Yankees are deeply saddened by the passing of Joe DiMaggio, one of our own and one of the greatest of all time. It was the class and dignity with which he led his life that made him part of all of us. I will forever treasure the close friendship we shared over the years.

    "Five days ago, on March 2, I visited with Joe at his home in Hollywood, Fla. He was weak but spirited and alert. Together with his granddaughter Paula, and Morris Engelberg, we reminisced about the wonderful years he had in baseball. I told him, 'Joe, you have a date with the date with the Yankees on Opening Day. We are counting on you to throw out the first ball.'

    "He just smiled."

    Former Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda
    "He was the kind of guy that exemplified what a major leaguer should be like, and act like, and play like. ... He played the game with so much intensity. He played the game with pride. He wore the Yankee uniform with dignity and character.''

    President Clinton
    "Today, America lost one of the century's most beloved heroes, Joe DiMaggio. This son of Italian immigrants gave every American something to believe in. He became the very symbol of American grace, power and skill. A brilliant individual performer, he led his magnificent Yankees to the World Series 10 out of his 13 years. His electrifying 56-game hitting streak, unequal to this day, is one of the most remarkable achievements by any athlete in any sport.

    "He stood tall off the field as well. In 1943, he volunteered for the Army and swapped his Yankee paycheck for $50-a-month private's salary. He and the foundation he started gave mightily to help poor children benefit from the world's best medical care. And he was an incredibly devoted father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

    "I have no doubt that when future generations look back at the best of America in the 20th century, they will think of the Yankee Clipper and all that he achieved. Hillary and I extend our thoughts and prayers to his family.''

    Al Kaline, Detroit Tigers hall of famer
    "We were looking forward to seeing him Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. We had heard he might be there. It's just a tremendous shock. Fortunately, we will have great memories of him. It's a sad day, the passing of a legend."

    © Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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