Joe DiMaggio, Mr Coffee and the birth of gourmet java in America
Every morning, I wake just after 06:30 am, thanks to Alexa radiating noise from a household Amazon Echo Dot. After barking at the damn thing to stop, I take my morning pills then stumble down the stairs, into the bright white kitchen. Instinctively, I fire up the Nespresso coffee machine, inserting a purple pod of Colombian java, and prepare a cinnamon bagel – slathered in raspberry jam – as it whirs into action. A small glass of orange juice completes my breakfast, which is consumed while checking the baseball scores and associated highlights. The state of morning bliss lasts about an hour.
This is a traditional routine in American households, which have long jived to the summer pulse of boxscores and blueberry pancakes. Since the bygone days of Cobb and Ruth, right through to the modern age of Trout and Tatís Jr., people have kickstarted their day with caffeine, sugar, protein and pine tar. I abide by similar customs, except my house rests between Wirral and Cheshire in leafy England, an ocean adrift of the hardball hubbub. Still, there are scores to skim, web gems to watch and recaps to regurgitate. Breakfast is the ideal time for such pondering, before the chaos of another day takes hold.
Naturally, coffee is a perfect accompaniment to this heuristic, bringing instant warmth and feelings of grandiose enlightenment. Nowadays, of course, we have boundless choice with regard to our morning brew – abundant varieties, myriad origins, copious packages, subscriptions and grinds – amid a gourmet coffee revolution. That a baseball icon is partly responsible for such a cornucopia of coffee is poetic symmetry, and it fills me with pride every morning.
Indeed, my sunrise routine would not be possible without the seminal genius of Joe DiMaggio, the fabled New York Yankees demigod who moonlighted as a coffee impresario later in life. A prolific java drinker, DiMaggio became the face of Mr Coffee in the 1970s, turbocharging a brand that catalysed a seismic shift in beverage consumption. Without Mr Coffee – and, thus, without Joltin’ Joe – my indulgent breakfast schtick of comfort and convenience may never have transpired. It is only right, therefore, that I pay homage to Number 5 and his favourite drink.
A cup of Joe (DiMaggio!) Why The Yankee Clipper became synonymous with coffee
You could say coffee was in the DiMaggio genes. After all, the family traces its roots to Isola delle Femmine, the island of women, in Sicily, Italy. Coffee, of course, is the very lifeblood of Italian culture, and it loomed as a figment of patriotic reverence throughout the diaspora that emerged from mass turn-of-the-century migration.
Indeed, between 1880 and 1914, more than 4 million Italians migrated to the US, pushed by social upheaval and pulled by the prospect of jobs for unskilled workers. Nascent unification caused economic stagnation throughout Italy, driving people – proud yet uneducated – overseas in search of opportunities.
Joe’s father, Giuseppe, ventured from Sicily to America, via Ellis Island, in 1898. Four years later, he sent for his wife, Rosalia, and they planted roots in the US. Although New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston were preferred destinations for many Italians, the DiMaggios settled in San Francisco, where Giuseppe found work as a fisherman. Long days at sea allowed the family to function, putting food on the table and a roof over their heads. There was little time for daydreaming.
Rosalia eventually gave birth to seven children – including Joe, Dominic and Vince, who all played in the major leagues. Born in Martinez, California, in November 1914, Joe was by far the most talented ballplayer, ticketed for Cooperstown. Still, his father disapproved of baseball as a viable career choice, causing innate family tension.
To that end, the DiMaggios endured an austere existence in working class San Francisco. Waste was a cardinal sin in Giuseppe’s household, while thrift, toil and efficiency were silently lauded. Accordingly, the milieu that fashioned Joe DiMaggio was full of harsh, caustic ingredients – blood, sweat, fish, dirt, nicotine and pasta. Oh, and coffee. Yeah, do not forget the coffee.
These principles, and their physical accoutrements, defined Joe DiMaggio as a ballplayer. In the outfield, Joe was regal, lithe, grace personified. At bat, he was clinical, fluid, savant writ large. DiMaggio rarely spoke, and he never used superfluous language. The presence was enough. The aura. The mystique. Years later, when Joe strolled through a room – chin out, back straight, eyes smouldering – there was a disturbance in its gravitational field. People just sensed his arrival, his majesty. A hush usually descended, as adoring eyes drenched DiMaggio.
Joe expected greatness, and those impulses grew in New York as he became a Yankees star. Whenever the Yankees won a big game or another World Series championship, Joe often sat quietly on a stool in front of his locker – a paragon of comportment, sipping coffee and smoking a cigarette. The other Yankees – those who rode Joe’s coattails to immortality – swilled champagne and sang the Beer Barrel Polka, a wartime ditty conveying joy and optimism. Meanwhile, DiMaggio sat cross-legged, a wry smile masking bucked teeth, occasionally asking Pete Sheehy, the Yanks’ clubhouse manager, for ‘half a cup’ of coffee.
According to legend, DiMaggio also repeated his cigarette and coffee routine in the dugout runway between innings, recharging from the glare of innumerable darting eyes. Whereas modern ballplayers retreat to watch video or analyse their swing planes between plate appearances, DiMaggio bathed in the soothing buzz of nicotine and caffeine, substances that allowed him to relax. Substances that allowed him to settle.
Joe quickly became synonymous with coffee, thanks in part to insensitive stereotypes of Italian-Americans as espresso-shooting café dwellers. In 1939, for instance, shortly after winning his first MVP award, DiMaggio appeared in GQ magazine sporting a suit and tie while nursing a mug and saucer of coffee. It became part of the act, quite frankly, a motif of Joe’s distinguished palette.
“Twelve cups of coffee a day is the regular quota for Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees slugger and leading American League batsman,” wrote the Arcadia Tribune in a 1940 profile. “So his friend, George Thierbach (right), San Francisco coffee importer and head of the national coffee association, serves them up all at once.” The piece carried a photo of DiMaggio and Thierbach at a table, surrounded by a dozen cups of coffee. While obviously a contrived depiction, it spoke to the prevailing zeitgeist.
DiMaggio maintained his place in the pantheon of pop culture heroes by making token appearances at exclusive restaurants and bars. Toots Shor’s was his favourite spot, with the Copacabana Club a close second. Joe occasionally drank whiskey and wine, but he more frequently ordered a coffee while kibitzing with the chosen people. He liked plain pound cake – toasted on one side – with his coffee, and Toots would often have it ready and waiting, along with his perpetually reserved table. Joe leant a certain sophistication to coffee, and it encouraged others to imitate his tastes.
A potted history of coffee in the USA
Sadly, the coffee on which Joe D became hooked was – objectively – awful. At home, Americans still relied on percolators to brew coffee, becoming numb to the inconsistent results. One time, percolated coffee might be bitter; the next time, it might be dull, akin to caffeinated dishwater. There was an unpredictability to household coffee as a result, and that stunted its popularity.
After World War II, however, America was intoxicated by concepts of growth, development, automation and streamlining. If things – any things – had plastic interfaces, intriguing dials, foldable compartments or whizz-bang pyrotechnics, they typically sold. This was the era that gave us colour television, video cassette recorders, domestic air conditioning, dishwashers, frozen foods and credit cards. America became a haven for such inventions – the brasher, the better – and people could not get enough of commodification, the latest craze.
With its lightweight packaging and extensive shelf life, instant coffee meshed perfectly with this strain of laissez-faire consumerism. Nouveau riche consumers purchased a drum of Folgers at nascent supermarkets, took it home, mixed it with boiling water in a cup, and receive a jolt within minutes. No mess. No fuss. No waiting. And that is why instant coffee looked set to become the king of modern beverages.
However, this paradigm of convenient stimulation was mastered by soft drink manufacturers in the 1960s, as Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr Pepper dwarfed coffee in mass appeal. Still, a few blessed souls remained committed to improving American coffee culture, and a cottage industry emerged underground. Sourcing, brewing and selling quality coffee – ground coffee, not the slurry of percolated alternatives – became the modus operandi of local coffee connoisseurs, and the West Coast became a hotbed of experimentation.
Alfred Peet, a Dutch-American entrepreneur, became the doyen of this subculture, synthesising the European verve for coffee in California. In 1966, Peet opened a boutique coffeehouse in Berkeley, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from DiMaggio’s stomping ground, and quietly revolutionised the industry. Peet imported quality arabica coffee beans and brewed them on-site, attracting loyal customers with the fine scent and inimitable taste of his trademark brew. Queues formed around the block as locals became addicted, sparking interest in Peet’s approach that reached epidemic proportions.
Copying this template, small roasteries popped up across the country, and it gradually became easier to find a good cup of coffee. Nevertheless, you still had to leave home to do so. You still had to go to a diner, restaurant or quirky coffeehouse. Joe D had to go to Shor’s, or lurk in the lobby of the various hotels he frequented. One man sought to change that, however, while making a pretty fortune in the process. Vincent Marotta had a transformative vision for coffee, and the world was destined to hear about it.
What was Mr Coffee, and who invented it?
Marotta was a humble real estate broker who foresaw a market crash. Also the son of Italian émigrés, Marotta was an enterprising sort, and he began tampering with diversification ideas and contingency plans in case property prices plunged. One morning, while enjoying breakfast – and perhaps checking the daily baseball scores – Marotta wondered why his home-brewed coffee was so dissatisfying. Why, Marotta thought, did restaurant or diner coffee taste far better? And how could he transplant that formula into homes?
Duly intrigued, Marotta set out to find answers. He spoke to coffee growers, brewers and drinkers, attempting to deduce workable improvements by triangulation. Marotta even sought counsel from the Pan American Coffee Bureau, tirelessly researching the best methods on which to focus. There was a fervency to his efforts that made a breakthrough more likely than not. Indeed, after months of hopeful tinkering, Marotta devised a revolutionary concept that changed the face of household coffee forever.
During his investigations, Marotta discovered that most diners and roadside restaurants used large, costly coffeemakers in their establishments. The Bunn-O-Matic was a leading model. Invariably, these high-powered machines were geared towards mass output, with some capable of making dozens of cups per day. However, lumping a Bunn-O-Matic machine into the family kitchen was impractical and unsightly. And, besides, such industrial coffeemakers were costly and difficult to source outside the restaurant trade, putting them beyond the stretch of workaday folk. Marotta knew that, to improve the quality of domestic coffee and have it reach mass market appeal, he needed to streamline this diner process and pack it into an epochal shell – compact, movable, shiny and desirable. Hence, the genesis of Mr Coffee, the latest and greatest in consumer goods.
Formed in 1970 out of Cleveland, Ohio, Mr Coffee was a transformative brand. Marotta partnered with Samuel Glazer, an invisible philanthropist, to create North America Systems (NAS), a generic parent company, but Mr Coffee became a force in its own right. Guided by Marotta, the firm set out to create an automatic drip coffeemaker that could be easily replicated at scale. NAS hired Edmund Abel and Edwin Schulze, engineers from electronics firm Westinghouse, and the whacky idea soon became reality. Marotta was on to a winner.
Unlike other consumer coffee gadgets, the Mr Coffee prototype used gravity to pull water through a heating chamber, allowing it to drip freely into the cup at a constant rate. Moreover, the embryonic Mr Coffee appliance gave a consistent brewing temperature, making for a smoother, faster, repeatable and – ultimately – more enjoyable experience. Finally, people could savour quality coffee without having to drive for it. The revolution had begun.
“The ideal temperature of the water is 200 degrees,” Marotta told Forbes while demonstrating his prototype. “Not 212 degrees, which the percolators give you; 212 degrees gives you overextraction, so the coffee becomes bitter and astringent. Not under 200 degrees, because then there’s a tendency for the coffee to come out like tea – too weak, not enough extraction. The ideal temperature is 200. That didn’t come from me. That has been established by people who have expertise in coffee.”
Complete with a yellow and white decal design befitting the technological milieu, the Mr Coffee drip coffeemaker dispensed 200 degree water every single time it was used. This made it renowned for a certain taste, texture and experience that could be replicated ad nauseum with minimal effort. Marotta launched his landmark product in 1972, with a retail price of $230 in today’s money. Coffee aficionados lapped it up, and Mr Coffee machines flew off the shelves of department stores across America. Coffee convenience – and attendant sophistication – had officially arrived.
From Joltin’ Joe to Mr Coffee – How Vincent Marotta convinced the great DiMaggio to sell coffeemakers
A shrewd businessman, Marotta knew the importance of strong marketing, and in 1973, he set out to find a suitable spokesperson for Mr Coffee. Marotta wanted someone who could spin an exotic yarn about his brand, infusing it with majestic hyperbole. He wanted someone who was respected – nay, beloved – by broad swathes of society, and who would thus lend Mr Coffee an air of exclusivity. Attainable exclusivity, to be sure, but exclusivity nonetheless.
Marotta was a decent baseball player in his formative years, signed by the St Louis Cardinals before serving in the war. Like most Italian-American ballplayers, Vincent idolised Joe DiMaggio as a kid, viewing him as the ultimate role model. Years later, then, when an opportunity presented itself, Marotta became fascinated by the idea of signing DiMaggio as a Mr Coffee pitchman. And in the end, nobody managed to talk him out of it.
Leveraging his network of contacts in baseball and local business, Marotta eventually reached Dominic DiMaggio, who supplied Joe’s unlisted phone number after much haranguing. Never short of confidence, Marotta rang Joe on a Saturday morning, and was shocked when the Yankee legend answered. DiMaggio was something of a recluse at the time, content to let his immaculate legacy speak for itself. The 1962 death of Marilyn Monroe, his ultimate sweetheart, hit Joe hard, and his public appearances became diminished as a result.
As such, Marotta was astonished to find that DiMaggio already knew about Mr Coffee. Joe won one of Vincent’s machines at a Miami golf tournament a few weeks before Marotta called, lending poignant serendipity to their conversations. Still, DiMaggio rarely accepted endorsement deals, maintaining an aura of cool detachment. Accordingly, he rejected Marotta’s proposition out of hand, sticking to his course of minimalist independence.
However, Marotta would not take no for an answer. Sensing some interest in DiMaggio’s voice, the whacky inventor boarded a plane to San Francisco the following day and presented himself at DiMaggio’s restaurant. Though fiercely protective of his privacy, Joe was seemingly impressed by Marotta’s hutzpah, agreeing to eat lunch with Vincent at the nearby Fairmont Hotel.
While Marotta had a penchant for fantastical embellishment, he maintained that, within moments of ordering food, DiMaggio accepted the advertising gig with Mr Coffee. The pair shook hands over plates of broiled salmon, Marotta later told NPR. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Hawked by the great and mythic DiMaggio, Mr Coffee’s eponymous machine sold more than 1 million units in its first year. By Christmas 1977, that number reached 40,000 sales per day. Marotta’s brainchild quickly commanded a 50% market share, with the next-best competitor, Norelco, languishing at 18%. Revenues hit $150 million by 1979, as the innovative product achieved cultural ubiquity.
The greatest Mr Coffee commercials and ads featuring Joe DiMaggio
Ironically, when DiMaggio began advertising Mr Coffee, his own caffeine habit had waned considerably. Joe had a small ulcer at that time, and he tried to shy away from harsh food and drink. Though borderline sacrilegious, he drank decaffeinated coffee for many years, akin to Adolphus Busch drinking water. His preferred brand was actually Sanka, an instant decaf sold by Kraft Foods. If only people knew at the time.
Joe appeared in dozens of commercial for Mr Coffee, which placed him in a range of borderline farcical settings and scenarios. At first, gender stereotypes forbade DiMaggio appearing in a kitchen – god forbid! – and it took almost a decade for the brand to show Joe making coffee himself. Marketers wanted to position coffee as a luxurious accessory of honed masculinity, and DiMaggio typically appeared in an office, study or lavish drawing room, sipping Mr Coffee that had been prepared elsewhere by a nondescript underling – presumably female. Regardless, people fell in love with the concept – especially men of a certain outlook and vintage - and coffee acquired a certain haughty lustre as a result.
DiMaggio was famously unnatural in front of the camera, and his delivery was rather wooden at times. “These are Mr Coffee filters,” he stuttered in one early ad, cradling the coffeemaker. “This is Mr Coffee, precision coffee brewing system. This filter was scientifically designed to extract only the finest qualities from your coffee – even if your coffeemaker isn’t the genuine Mr Coffee. Our filter filters out oils, sediment and bitterness.”
In another age, with another star, these cheesy slots would have been ridiculed. There are definitely parallels between Joe DiMaggio begrudgingly selling coffee and Rocky Balboa awkwardly shilling for Beast Aftershave when Adrian would not let him face Apollo Creed in a rematch. Nevertheless, unlike Rocky, Joe grew into the role, and the thawing of his mighty self-righteousness into knowing self-deprecation made Mr Coffee an iconic powerhouse without equal.
“I’m going to show you how to make the best cup of coffee you ever tasted – in just seconds,” DiMaggio says in one 1973 clip, resplendent in a suave turtleneck and cardigan. The impact of Joe slowly sipping an Americano, then tilting his head wryly in near-slapstick contentment, spoke to a gathering cognisance in mass marketing. DiMaggio was in on the joke, and so was everybody else, but the cryptic humour actually affirmed the quality of Mr Coffee. It was so good, and so effective, that one almost had to chuckle at the wonder of America’s spellbinding ingenuity.
To wit, my favourite Mr Coffee commercial shows DiMaggio in a majestic crimson dressing gown, the lionised slugger feigning an exaggerated breakfast routine. Joltin’ Joe throws a newspaper on a nearby dining table and saunters over to the candid coffeemaker. “Last night, I programmed Mr Coffee to have my coffee ready when I woke up,” he explains, flashing a pristine Yankees World Series ring in the process. “Mr Coffee really knows how to say good morning.”
With time, Marotta released different iterations of his landmark device. One model featured an analogue clock, quite remarkably, while Mr Coffee became sleeker and quicker through the years. DiMaggio’s perfectionism never changed, though, and he often required more than 30 takes to nail the Mr Coffee scripts. That said scripts were painfully unoriginal – “You were known as the greatest hitter who ever lived, but I remember your pitching – for Mr Coffee,” said one accompanying actor – barely seemed to matter, because DiMaggio imbued the product with mystique merely by holding it. There was a vicarious quality to his sponsorship.
Nevertheless, Marotta spent $15 million per year on advertising, mostly through DiMaggio. To Vincent, that was a very real commitment, and some say he felt overlooked amid the entire Mr Coffee phenomenon. DiMaggio usually holed up in a studio once per year, recorded six or seven commercials to be used every few months, then watched the royalties roll in. Even Marotta was shocked at the success of his premonition.
All told, DiMaggio represented Mr Coffee for 14 years. His final appearance for the firm came in 1991, aged 77. By then, the world was a very different place to the one Joe entered almost eight decades earlier, but still he was a trendsetter. Still, he was a trailblazer. And still, he was Joe DiMaggio. Everything he touched turned to gold.
Why was Mr Coffee so popular? Assessing Joe DiMaggio’s impact on the gourmet coffee revolution
“The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts,” writes Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, his magnificent book on cultural trends. In the case of Mr Coffee, the hypothesis certainly holds true, for without the involvement of Joe DiMaggio – ballplayer extraordinaire, socialite exemplar – a convoluted coffeemaker, regardless of its innovation, would never have achieved such mainstream recognition.
To understand the popularity of Mr Coffee, one must understand the adulation of DiMaggio. Joe D was much more than a fine baseball player, much more than a 13-time All-Star, 3-time MVP and 9-time World Series champion with 2,214 career hits and a lifetime batting average of .325. DiMaggio was a blank canvas onto which the aspirant class projected innumerable meanings, values, expectations and dreams. The Yankee Clipper was a god in pinstripes, and people worshipped at his centre field altar.
No, seriously. During DiMaggio’s pomp, fans literally traded expensive tickets behind home plate at Yankee Stadium for cheap bleacher pews, 500 feet from the batter. Why? Because it was such a thrill – such a learned, intellectual joy – to watch DiMaggio glide after a routine flyball. People likened Joe to a prized gazelle, roaming his terrain with distinguished grandeur. That was an event in New York City, and the fascination never really dissipated.
Indeed, there was a poetic quality to Joe DiMaggio that encouraged people of all stripes and persuasions to conjure ambitions that lurked deep within their souls. “Have faith in the Yankees, my son. Think of the great DiMaggio,” wrote Ernest Hemingway, through the voice of main character Santiago, in The Old Man and the Sea. Joe D was deployed as a relatable icon, a vague-yet-tangible motif of itinerant success. People just got DiMaggio, and all that he meant. Rarely has that eminence – that innate appreciation of greatness – been replicated in the many eras since.
Of course, that instinctive celebration of genius, and the inexorable sense of sadness that greeted its fade into the sunset, was captured beautifully by Simon and Garfunkel, the famed folk rock band. “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you,” sang Paul and Art in Mrs Robinson, their defining masterpiece released in 1968. Once again, DiMaggio was deployed as a mawkish simulacrum of American virtue, a reliable epitome of sepia-tinged hope. That is what Vincent Marotta bought when he convinced Joe to sell coffee, and the deal worked a treat.
From a global perspective, DiMaggio and Mr Coffee were just so right for each other. The cup of Joe double-entendre. The Italian-American heritage. The chiselled masculinity woven into caffeine. Joe D was an envoy of the intelligentsia loaned to the rugged mainstream, and that meshed perfectly with Marotta’s target audience. Coffee was a drink of enlightenment and sophistication, qualities exuded by Joe. Thus, at the confluence of Marotta’s expertise and DiMaggio’s endorsement, Mr Coffee became outrageously successful and desirable. The brand sparked a gourmet coffee revolution, and we are still learning from its modus operandi today.
The fact that DiMaggio was so selective in endorsements, and that his name was such a hallmark of excellence as a result, made Mr Coffee sell. Joe’s photo and autograph was even on the box, hammering home that point, and his stately charisma even piqued the interest of non-baseball fans. If Joltin’ Joe was involved, people reasoned, this coffee must be good. And so, they tried it. And so, they became hooked.
“Millions of kids grew up thinking Joe DiMaggio was a famous appliance salesman,” Marotta told the Columbus Dispatch in 2007. Indeed, part of Joe’s acclaim lay in his perpetual metamorphosis. From prodigious athlete to celebrated war veteran to Marilyn Monroe’s husband to coffee connoisseur to The Greatest Living Ballplayer ™ - Joe DiMaggio never stopped evolving. An entire generation knew him only as the white-haired face of coffee in America, and that was incredibly transformative for Marotta and his peers.
What happened to Mr Coffee? Is the brand still alive today?
In 1987, NAS was sold for $187 million in a leveraged buyout. Therefore, despite a few changes of ownership, Mr Coffee is still alive, with the vaunted label currently a trademarked subsidiary of Newell Brands, a manufacturing conglomerate whose portfolio also includes Sharpie, Yankee Candle, Paper Mate and Parker.
Mr Coffee launched a range of associated products in the 1990s – including juicers, bread-makers and Mrs Tea – but any residual success soon wore off. The brand became something of a heritage act, akin to Elton John still singing Rocket Man to sellout arena crowds. Nowadays, in fact, Mr Coffee has been largely usurped in the coffee machine market, to the point where it now licenses the famed K-cup technology from Keurig rather than innovating itself.
Nevertheless, the brand still holds a nostalgic lustre to people of a certain bent. For instance, Joe DiMaggio died in March 1999, aged 84, and right until the end, he was synonymous with coffee. One 1990s Seinfeld episode featured DiMaggio in Dinky Donuts, a fictional diner, dipping donuts in his coffee. “It’s Joe DiMaggio,” the familiar characters chant in wide-eyed wonder. “Having a cup of coffee!” That inexorable fascination never waned.
For his part, Marotta died in August 2015, aged 91. As coffee grew in popularity across America and around the world, it was only natural that Vincent felt increasingly slighted – both by DiMaggio hogging the limelight, and by the java cognoscenti overlooking Mr Coffee’s seminal contribution. Indeed, Marotta was quick to point out that DiMaggio made more money from coffee commercials than from any baseball season, while positioning himself as the true godfather of our modern brew. History will look on him favourably in this respect.
Alas, today, we tend to drink our coffee in palatial coffeehouses, or from Styrofoam cups while traversing buys city thoroughfares. Sure, there are still coffee machines in houses around the world, and many of them are capable of dispensing great drinks, but they are often covered by dust – disused and forgotten. The safest bet for an exquisite beverage remains outside the house, from Starbucks, Costa or even Prêt. In this regard, Marotta’s vision proved to be a startling supernova.
Still, in nostalgic enclaves of pop culture fame, people still sell – and buy – used Mr Coffee boxes on eBay, emblazoned with Joe DiMaggio’s face and autograph. I know because I have tried to buy one. And, if you would kindly excuse me for just a second, there is an auction ending in five minutes, and mine is currently the highest bid. The lure of Joe DiMaggio – much like caffeine – never dies, and we can only look on in awe.
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