TAMPA, March 20Writing about the 1936 Yankees is tantamount to being a Boswell for Joe DiMaggio. In all three games played by the New York Club, the Italian lad from San Francisco has been the outstanding performer. With four hits in six tries in the 13-to-8 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at St. Petersburg, Giuseppe made it ten out of fifteen, for an average of .666.|
Not only is DiMaggio furnishing most of the power for the New York Club, but he has developed into a real attraction. Fans are coming out to see him. Yesterday 2,691 persons turned outfar and away the largest crowd that has seen the Reds in an exhibition game in Florida in many years. They never before had drawn within 1,000 of that total at St. Petersburg.
Each performance of the New star at the plate was the signal for a salvo of applause. Joe came up twice in the long eighth inning. In his first effort in that round he singled to center. As he walked up to the plate again, the fans shouted their encouragement. But the youngster grounded out to Lew Riggs.
Never before in the history of the Yankees has a recruit fresh from the minors created the furore which DiMaggio has stirred up or intrigued the fans so thoroughly with the magic of his bat and his possibilities in the American League. Tony Lazzeri came in here from the Pacific Coast League in 1926 with a reputation even more resplendent than that of DiMaggio. But even Lazzeri did not arouse the interest which is being evinced in Joe's achievements and potentialities.
DiMaggio Hits to all Fields Against Red Hurlers
DiMaggio is very industrious in his determination to break down the impression that he is a dead left field hitter. In three games in the Yankee camp, and in batting practice, DiMaggio did not drive a ball to the right of second base. But in the two meetings with the Cardinals, and yesterday's encounter with the Reds, Giuseppe sent three hits into left, one in front of the box , three into right and three into center. In his fourth time up he fouled out to Riggs, but Joe smacked another hit into center in the eighth inning, off Tony Freitas.
The fame of "DiMag" is travelling abroad, and experts are coming in from alien camps to see the Italian in action, and write about his style and their reactions.
His success in competition has acted in a strange way on the lad. He has become quieter, more thoughtful. Perhaps he is beginning to feel the mental weight of striking achievement in the Big Show, and the need for holding to a high standard.
It looks very much as if the Yankees will open the American League season with their current outfieldGeorge Selkirk, in right; DiMaggio, in center, and Roy Johnson in left. With all due respect to the absent Ben Chapman, this arrangement may be the strongest oe at Joe McCarthy's command. Johnson wants to play in left, and his .315 batting average with the Red Sox last season cannot be brushed aside. DiMaggio's work in center hasn't developed a flaw.
Colonel Ruppert insists that both Chapman and Red Ruffing, holdouts, will have to sign at terms offered.
Ruppert is particularly sore over Ruffing's attitude. Red has done no training at all, while Ben has been working out with the Birmingham club.
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