There is an excerpt from the new Joe D book in this week’s issue of SI. Check it outski:
JOE DIMAGGIO sat reading Superman and smoking in his room at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. He adored Superman comics, although he did not want many people to know this. If the newspapers picked up on it, who knew what people might think? What if they made fun of him? His roommate, Lefty Gomez, had the assignment of discreetly buying the weekly comic book for DiMaggio; whenever Joe himself carried a copy he tucked it out of sight. He read the daily Superman strips in the newspaper too.
Superman was a story of unambiguous heroism in which the seemingly impossible was routinely achieved. Something important was always at stake. Everybody loved Superman, and unfailingly he saved the day. There was also the ever-present element of secrecy, of Clark Kent’s disguising a completely other identity that no one, not even Lois Lane, could know.
“Why, Joe, you’re just like him,” Gomez would kid. “He puts on his uniform, and all of a sudden no one can stop him! He’s everyone’s hero.” Sometimes when Gomez bought the comic—and DiMaggio always had him get it the very day it came out—he would goof around by calling out to DiMaggio, who hovered off to the side, “You mean this comic book, Joe? Or this one, the Superman?” DiMaggio would scowl and turn his back and walk off a few paces. Only Gomez could get away with tweaking him like this.
That night, June 28, 1941, with a chance for DiMaggio to pass George Sisler’s American League record during a doubleheader at Griffith Stadium the next day, he and Gomez would stay in the room. DiMaggio’s hitting streak was at 40 games, one short of Sisler’s mark from 1922, and as the 26-year-old DiMaggio had realized over the last few days in New York City and Philadelphia, being out in public now meant being subjected to almost relentless pestering.