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Silent DiMaggio Silences Rivalry With Williams

In a rare--and brief--interview recently with the reclusive Joe DiMaggio, the Boston Globe’s Peter Gammons talked to the Yankee Clipper about his relationship with Ted Williams.

“So much was made of my rivalry with Ted, and yet I never felt it was really there,” DiMaggio told Gammons. “There was the rivalry with the Red Sox, and frankly, that was what it was about. Winning.

“We had a few instances together. We talked some at the All-Star games. We have spent time together later. But it shouldn’t be him against me. That’s just the way the media construed things.

“He was the greatest left-handed hitter I ever saw. We are different people, and I admire him for being the way he’s been.”

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Trivia time: After hitting 46 home runs and driving in 167 runs his rookie season in 1937, what salary was DiMaggio seeking for the 1938 season when he held out until April 28?

London calling: Here’s an English perspective on the baseball strike, courtesy of Martin Fletcher of the Times of London:

“Only in the United States would millionaires have the gall to go on strike.

“Barring a last-minute settlement, America’s grossly pampered baseball players are planning to put down their bats on Friday because their teams’ owners want to curb their astronomical salaries.

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“In doing so they will cut short one of the most exciting seasons in memory. Imagine the outrage if English country cricketers suddenly walked off the field in mid-summer and left the championship unfinished.”

Imagine.

Taken for granted: Orlando Magic executive Pat Williams can’t imagine why he is being criticized for trading guard Scott Skiles, known for his mental toughness, in order to make salary-cap room for the signing of free agent Horace Grant.

“I think Scott’s reputation was a little overblown,” Williams said. “Yes, he was a tough, feisty guy who would speak his mind, but he was that tough, feisty guy as a leader and a starter. When it became apparent this was going to be an eight-, nine-, or 10-minutes-a-night job to him, we felt it wasn’t fair to him. He just can’t handle that type of role.

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“I’ll put it to you this way: In effect, we traded Skiles for Grant. Wouldn’t you make that deal every day of the week?”

Trivia answer: DiMaggio wanted $40,000.

Quotebook: New York Yankee Don Mattingly on Baltimore shortstop Cal Ripken Jr.'s streak of 2,000-plus consecutive games: “We wonder how many times he was too banged up to go out there, but did anyway. We wonder how many times he had a case of the nasty, wake-up-in-the-morning, can’t-get-out-of-bed flu, but got up, and went to the ballpark, and played. You go around and ask anybody. We’re all in awe of what he’s done.”


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