It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Joe DiMaggio today. The City of San Francisco and the people of this nation join together in mourning and in reflection of a great San Franciscan who captured our imagination and pride with his grace and poise on and off the baseball diamond.
Many fans and sports writers considered DiMaggio to be one of the best all-around players of all time. But that is not the only reason why this son of Italian immigrants, who grew up in the San Francisco fishing community could, to this day, force millions around the world to pause at the mere mention of his name.
Yes, it's the 56-game hitting streak and the speed on the base paths and the quick dash through center field that made Joe DiMaggio an American hero. It is also because through all of his success, through all of the acclamation and praise, DiMaggio was a modest man, devoted to family, friends and fans. He was a hero we could all look up to without reservation or hesitation.
As an Italian-American, I also feel a special kinship with a man who made us all proud. Today, on the day of his passing we all feel the loss, but also the pride of knowing that he gave to us a special gift that will stand the test of time. As we mourn his death, we can be comforted in knowing where Joe DiMaggio has gone.
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