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Highway Will Honor DiMaggio

The state Legislature honored Joe DiMaggio Wednesday by voting to rename a stretch of the West Side Highway in Manhattan after the New York Yankees great.

Both the Assembly and Senate adopted the resolution as members delivered testimonials to the life and the style of the former center fielder.

DiMaggio died March 8 at 84.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Rensselaer, said he had the honor of talking with DiMaggio prior to opening day at Yankee Stadium in 1997.

"It struck me how humble he was in relating on a personal basis, looking you right in the eye," Bruno said. "He went out to the mound and threw the first pitch and it was right over the plate and he jogged up to the catcher and shook hands. And I thought, that is greatness at every stage and at every age."

Sen. Alton Waldon Jr., D-Queens, recounted seeing DiMaggio play at Yankee Stadium when a Washington Senators batter hit a shot toward the monuments in center field.

"Joe D. turned and, with his back to home plate, gracefully strode and reached up and caught the ball in full stride without looking back," Waldon said. "It was breathtaking. It was heavenly."

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said DiMaggio handled the pressure of being the best player of his era "with class and showed us all that there is a place for gentlemen and generosity in professional sports."

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