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The Great DiMaggio throws him a curveball

(This is the third of three parts profiling noted photographer David Spindel, this time looking at his unique relationship with the legendary Joe DiMaggio.)

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Spindel also has a few artifacts left from another of his cronies, Joe DiMaggio, though not the item he wanted. “I wanted to get Joe to sign a boxing glove, but he wouldn’t do it,” Spindel recalled. Undaunted, the man The Yankee Clipper once described as “my personal photographer” in an introduction to another pretty fair country ballplayer, Ted Williams, arranged in 1989 to have DiMaggio visit his studio at a time when he was creating a huge still-life of his memorabilia.

When Joe showed up at the studio, he had a couple of surprises in store for his photographer. He brought along a sterling silver humidor and a signed baseball that he thought should be included in the photo. That was simple enough, since the humidor was pretty cool and the ball was signed by a couple of decent prospects named Reagan and Gorbachev. But there was more.

“Where do I sit,” DiMaggio then said to the startled Spindel. Apparently, Joe figured the still-life would be nicely enhanced with the man himself included. “And his agent wanted $50,000 to include him in the photo!” Spindel recalled in amazement. The agent may have been disappointed about that outcome, but not about the iconic image that resulted after the talented Spindel did a double exposure and inserted DiMaggio into the image.
A few days later when Spindel took the prints to Atlantic City to show DiMaggio (he was there signing autographs), he ended up chillin’ with the Hall of Famer for much of the weekend, including ringside seats at a boxing match in an entourage that also included Ted Williams and Floyd Patterson.

Spindel likes to recount his thoughts at the time as he pondered what people were saying about the distinguished quartet. “The people were probably saying, ‘Who are those three guys with Spindel?’ ” he said with a laugh.