As a baseball fan and a Mercedes owner, it was a natural, so to speak. When I saw Joe DiMaggio's last car listed on Craigslist, I knew I had to see it, and drive it, even if I could never own it.
John Evans, a Yankees fan and collector, bought the car after seeing it while he and his wife were getting a sno-cone. He saw it from the corner of his eye, and then couldn't believe it when he discovered it was owned by the Yankee great.
The Yankees gave DiMaggio this car in 1991 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his 56-game hitting streak. Odd, Evans points out, that they picked a Mercedes 420 SEL instead of a 560 SEL, but maybe Joe preferred the better MPG. DiMaggio took it back to Miami and drove it there.
Sportswriter John Schulian (winner of the PEN/ESPN award for literary sports writing and author of the novel A Better Goodbye) joined us as color commentator. He says "Mercedes would have appealed to his sense of elegance. He was a very elegant man; he was an elegant baseball player, famous for his grace, his loping stride. And in his personal life, he was always well-turned out. And I'm sure he was pleased to drive this little beauty."
Schulian says the comparatively low pay he got as a Yankee (about $600,000 per year in 1941 in today's money) rankled DiMaggio. "He was desperately underpaid. The Yankees may have been giving away Mercedes in 1991, but most of the time they were throwing away nickels like manhole covers."
Joe took great care of the car, and it was a pleasure to drive. Make sure to listen to the audio so you can drive along with us in the last car of Joe DiMaggio. And if you've got $12,500, the car is yours.