DiMaggio Cheated by Friend, Book Says

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From Associated Press

Joe DiMaggio’s lawyer cheated him out of several hundred thousand dollars in memorabilia in the last days of his life, according to a biography on the New York Yankee great.

In his book, “Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life,” Richard Ben Cramer zeroed in on Morris Engelberg, DiMaggio’s lawyer and friend through the 1990s.

“Absurd,” said Engelberg from his home in Hollywood, Fla.

“Over a 16-year period, I waived more than $5 million of agent fees, plus legal, accounting and other fees, which amounted to a significant sum of money. Why would I ‘scam’ a few thousand dollars from Joe DiMaggio? Anything I asked from him, he always said yes. Just look at the walls in my offices and home.”


Excerpts of the book, due to be released Tuesday, were included in the Oct. 23 issue of Newsweek magazine.

Cramer says Engelberg made a secret deal to get 2,000 baseballs made specially for Joe DiMaggio Day at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 27, 1998, with the intent of having them unwittingly signed and then sold for his own gain without DiMaggio’s knowledge.

“That is absolutely ridiculous.” Engelberg said. “I never bought 2,000 balls, Joe never bought 2,000 balls. An outright lie.”

According to Engelberg, DiMaggio received 10,000 blank Rawlings DiMaggio commemorative baseballs in connection with DiMaggio Day. Then, DiMaggio tried to purchase 2,000 more baseballs and pay for them, but the promoter wouldn’t sell them.

“So, I attempted to purchase the 2,000 balls from a third party in my name, pay for them and give them to DiMaggio. But I never purchased them.”

Engelberg also said DiMaggio was privy to all the dealings regarding the baseballs and “signed a letter authorizing me to do this. His grandchildren also were privy to all of this.”


According to the book, Engelberg gained DiMaggio’s trust because he made more money for him than any of his previous business managers. Cramer claims Engelberg took thousands of items DiMaggio signed, including baseballs, lithographs and canceled checks.


Talk of changing the site of a proposed new ballpark for the Boston Red Sox now that the team is for sale is “baloney,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino says.

“The only site that’s in play now is the Fenway,” Menino told The Boston Sunday Globe.

The city and the team agreed on a site near the current 88-year-old ballpark, the oldest and smallest in the majors, even though neighborhood businesses are opposed.