A new role for Yankees slugger Joe DiMaggio
Onto the front of a stamp unveiled by the U.S. Postal Service. The New York Yankees star, immortalized by Simon & Garfunkel in their hit song from the 1967 film "The Graduate," will be the first player featured in a stamp series honoring Major League Baseball stars and planned for next year.
The series, announced this week by the U.S. Postal Service, will give DiMaggio his first starring role on a postage stamp. Fans would agree it's an honor long overdue for the man whose 56-game hitting streak in 1941 still stands. As the Postal Service noted in its brief announcment, DiMaggio, who died in 1999, led the Yankees to 10 pennants and nine World Series titles. "Many consider him the greatest all-around player of his time," it said.
DiMaggio, a California native whose nicknames included Joltin' Joe and the Yankee Clipper, was more than just a spectacular slugger. He became a fodder for gossip columnists during his brief -- less than one-year -- marriage to Marilyn Monroe in 1954. She made it onto the front of a stamp in 1995.
In the 1970s, he became the spokesman for Mr. Coffee coffee makers. His name has figured in countless books, films, TV shows, and of course that Simon & Garfunkel song, "Mrs. Robinson," which asks the question: "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?" as it laments the loss of heroes like Joltin' Joe. "A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Woo woo woo," goes the answer.
The Lemonheads rock band had a hit with their own take on the song decades later, elevating DiMaggio's star status for a new generation. Three other baseball stars will be part of the stamp series, but their names have not yet been revealed. One thing's for certain: None will have the words "woo woo woo" forever tied to their names.
Photos: Joe DiMaggio in action against the Cardinals in 1939, and Marilyn Monroe's stamp. (Credit: Associated Press)
-- Tina Susman in New York