The state of the Yankees in 1936 was rather interesting. Babe Ruth had left the team after the '33 season. Lou Gehrig, of course, was the great star. But Gehrig was a low-key personality. Not a kind of guy that people rallied around or drew a lot of attention to himself or to the team.
So, the Yankees really were looking for a star that would excite the fans. They had not won in '35 and they wanted to win again. They wanted to rebuild the success that they had in the late 20s and early 30s, and they thought that this new young centerfielder -- 21 years old, very experienced, very successful -- would make a difference.
So it was classically a move to improve the team, to bring them back to victory. And, at the same time, to do it with a young player from San Francisco -- of Italian background -- that would attract that Italian audience in New York City. And, that's the way it played out. Every Italian in New York City wanted to get to see this young kid, Joe DiMaggio.