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This Day in Yankees History: Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe split up

Monroe files for divorce from The Yankee Clipper and Billy Martin gets canned for a fourth time.

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio on the Beach

Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History. Since the offseason has begun much sooner than anyone has ever hoped for, the Pinstripe Alley team has decided to continue the revived program in its new format. These daily posts will highlight two or three key moments in Yankees history on a given date, as well as recognize players born on the day. Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane with us!

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This Day in Yankees History (October 27)

66 Years Ago

After his playing career was over, Joe DiMaggio and Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe dated for two years before marrying at San Francisco City Hall in 1954. Their relationship was a stormy one; DiMaggio and Monroe’s marriage lasted just nine months, with Monroe filing for divorce on this day 66 years ago.

The blonde bombshell and Yankees legend would eventually reunite, rekindling a friendship in or around 1961, after Monroe’s divorce from playwright Arthur Miller was finalized. In February of 1961, after DiMaggio secured her release from Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic, Monroe joined DiMaggio, who was then the Yankees’ hitting coach, at the Yankees’ spring training camp in Florida.

When the 36-year-old Monroe died of a drug overdose on August 5, 1962, DiMaggio arranged the funeral. Until his own death in 1999, DiMaggio continued to honor Monroe by sending roses to her gravesite in Los Angeles on a weekly basis. DiMaggio was incredibly loyal to Monroe and guarded her desire for privacy, never speaking of her in public or in print.

35 Years Ago

The Yankees fire manager Billy Martin for an unprecedented fourth time and replace him with former Yankees outfielder and fan favorite Lou Pinella, who had served as the team’s hitting instructor since retiring as a player in 1984.

Speaking to the New York Daily News the next day about Martin’s firing, George Steinbrenner said, “I was simply fed up with everything that happened with Billy after the season. The barroom stuff [Martin’s fights in Baltimore with a fan and Yankees pitcher Ed Whitson] was bad enough, but then he demanded to renegotiate his contract and made it sound like I was ungrateful to him.”

Steinbrenner, always a believer in giving people second chances, had realized the extent of Billy Martin’s drinking problems and didn’t want to enable Martin further by repeatedly re-hiring him.

In a 1995 episode of Seinfeld, Steinbrenner’s character mentions Billy Martin among a long list of managers he’s fired:

21 Years Ago

The Yankees complete a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves to win the 1999 World Series, the organization’s second-consecutive title and 25th World Championship. The Braves join the New York Giants (1910-19) as the only two teams to enjoy the dubious distinction of losing four World Series in a decade. The Yankees-Braves contest is also the last MLB game to be played in the 20th century.