From one of the best magazine articles ever written, Gay Talese's 1966 Joe DiMaggio piece, "The Silent Season of a Hero," from Esquire (click link for full article):
"Why, hello there, Joe," interrupted a man with wine on his breath, patting DiMaggio on the back, feeling his arm. "Who's gonna take it this year, Joe?"
"Well, I have no idea," DiMaggio said.
"What about the Giants?"
"Your guess is as good as mine."
"Well, you can't count the Dodgers out," the main said.
"You sure can't," DiMaggio said.
"Not with all that pitching."
"Pitching is certainly important," DiMaggio said.
Everywhere he goes the question seems the same, as if he has some special vision into the future of new heroes, and everywhere he goes, too, older men grab his hand and feel his arm and predict that he could still go out there and hit one, and the smile on DiMaggio's face is genuine. He tries hard to remain as he was -- he diets, he takes steambaths, he is careful; and flabby men in the locker rooms of golf clubs sometimes steal peeks at him when he steps out of the shower, observing the tight muscles across his chest, the flat stomach, the long sinewy legs. He has a young man's body, very pale and little hair; his face is dark and lined, however, parched by the sun of several seasons.
Still he is always an impressive figure at banquets such as this -- and "immortal" sports writers called him, and that his how they have written about him and others like him, rarely suggesting that such heroes might ever be prone to the ills of mortal men, carousing, drinking, scheming; to suggest this would destroy the myth, would disillusion small boys, would infuriate rich men who own ball clubs and to whom baseball is a business dedicated to profit and in pursuit of which they trade mediocre players' flesh as casually as boys trade players' pictures on bubble-gum cards. And so the baseball hero must always act the part, must preserve the myth, and none does it better than DiMaggio, none is more patient when drunken old men grab an arm and ask, "Who's gonna take it this year, Joe?"
Tags: Gay Talese, Joe DiMaggio, Esquire, The Silent Season of a Hero