The real Joe DiMaggio, remembered by the man who knew him best in the last decade of his life—candid and little-known stories about icons from Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, and his Yankees teammates on the field to Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and other great celebrities off the field.
Dr. Rock Positano, an internationally renowned foot specialist in New York City, was introduced to Joe DiMaggio by the dean of New York sports writers, Bill Gallo, in 1990. The Yankee Clipper’s career-ending heel spur injury and botched surgeries brought them together. During the time Dr. Positano successfully treated the Yankee Clipper, a friendship slowly developed. As Dr. Positano would learn, DiMaggio moved very carefully and deliberately.
Dinner with DiMaggio follows the story of their friendship from its star-struck beginning through all its highs and lows over the next decade. Forty years younger than DiMaggio, Dr. Positano became a surrogate son at a time when his actual son was suffering from substance-abuse problems. Positano’s accounts of their times together reveal DiMaggio’s many rituals and quirks: the same meals at the same restaurants, the same pals in New York and Florida, jacket and tie everywhere. At the pinnacle of his fame, DiMaggio had learned to be guarded and carefully managed his image and private life. As his trust in his young friend grew, DiMaggio opened up about Marilyn, but also about his first wife, Dorothy Arnold, the mother of his son and the real love of his life. The Yankee Clipper knew everyone, and Positano shares never-before-told stories of famous people DiMaggio admired and those he didn’t.
This is DiMaggio as he really was: sometimes cranky and calculating, but more often charming, generous, loyal, and always big-hearted when it came to kids. The stories and experiences he shared with Rock Positano comprise an intimate portrait of one of the great stars of baseball and one of the icons of the twentieth century.
Dr. Rock G. Positano is the Director of the Non-Surgical Foot and Ankle Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, where he has been on staff since 1991. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine, where his thesis on foot health was approved, with Honors and Distinction. He is a clinical assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is internationally known for his non-surgical approach for the treatment of foot disorders.
John A. Positano, Esq. is associate producer of The Joe Piscopo Show, which airs daily on AM970, and the weekly Live From Downtown New York City. He graduated from New York Law School. In addition to arguing federal cases, he has written articles on the military, law, and surfing for the LI Pulse, Huffington Post and Daily News (New York). He lives near Stony Brook, New York.