Joe DiMaggio once asked Mikhail Gorbachev to sign a baseball

Joe DiMaggio has only asked one person to sign a baseball for him: Mikhail Gorbachev.

In 1987, the Yankee Clipper was invited by the Reagan White House to a state dinner in honor of the Russian leader, who died earlier this week at the age of 91.

“Gorbachev specifically asked to invite Joe DiMaggio because he had a fascination with the Yankee icon,” Dr. Rock Positano, an old DiMaggio friend, to Vidak For Congress.

Positano, who wrote a book, “Dinner with DiMaggio: Memories of An American Hero,” about his friendship with the baseball legend, added that it was also unusual for the famously shy, retired athlete to accept the invitation, but he wanted to attend. his as “he had read a lot about the Soviet leader.”

Before dinner, in hopes of getting an autograph, DiMaggio picked up a dozen baseballs from a sports store and tucked one into his jacket pocket.

But it stayed there and DiMaggio saw his chances fade until his dinner companion, Maureen Reagan, came to his rescue.

Soviet Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev (L) shakes hands with former baseball player Joe DiMaggio (1914 - 1999) (R) as US President Ronald Reagan watches a White House state dinner in Washington, DC.
DiMaggio met the Soviet leader at a dinner at the White House.
Getty Images

It was Maureen who instructed DiMaggio to take his baseball to the headmen’s office and promised that things would be settled. The next day, DiMaggio watched the two leaders on television and was surprised to find Reagan rubbing a baseball in his hands.

A short time later, DiMaggio received the baseball in the mail signed by both Reagan and Gorbachev.

“It was one of Joe’s most cherished purchases of baseball memorabilia,” Positano said.

Joe DiMaggio.
DiMaggio played for the NY Yankees his entire career.
Corbis via Getty Images

“I was a witness to history,” he told the NYT after the event. “I’ve done a lot of things in my time. But that day turned out to be one of the happiest days of my life, and one of the most meaningful.”

“In my life,” he added, “that’s the only time I’ve ever asked anyone to sign a baseball.”

DiMaggio, widely regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time, died in 1999 at the age of 84.

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