TheSmokingGun.Com recently pulled the U.S. Army records of Joe DiMaggio, via the Freedom of Information Act, to report on DiMaggio’s 30 months of U.S. Army service during World War II.
From reading evaluations written by U.S. Army Majors Emile Stoloff and William Barrett, DiMaggio was reported to have exhibited an astonishing level of narcissism, which included his “conscious attitude of hostility and resistance toward,” his Army service.
DiMaggio was hospitalized several times for, as Army reports noted repeatedly, an “alleged” ulcer that Army physicians never definitively confirmed actually existed. It was DiMaggio’s relentless claims of “alleged” physical maladies - and his resistance to any treatment whatsoever - that eventually led to his discharge in 1945.
Army psychologists attempted to address DiMaggio’s apparent hypochondria with psychological therapy but were reportedly met with a “basic attitude of hostility and resistance to therapeutic attempts to give him insight into the nature of his (psychosomatic) symptom.”
What’s most amazing about DiMaggio’s behavior is that the wartime Army essentially catered to his every whim while in uniform, asking only that he appear in baseball exhibition games.
But it was that request, to play baseball, and the adoration of his fellow, autograph-seeking soldiers that most upset DiMaggio about his military service. From the report:
He felt he was being exploited by being put on exhibition, and, what is more, he feels not to profit of the Army but rather to increase the income of civilians by gate receipts.
(The Army) permitted him to be lionized as a baseball hero by autograph seekers, that he was disturbed at times in his rest, and that he couldn’t not adequately adjust to the military demands because of those factors.
Also in the report, DiMaggio was noted to have been preoccupied with a business deal in which his brother had “double-crossed” him and his recent divorce.
In short, DiMaggio was completely oblivious to his country being in a life-or-death struggle with the Nazis and Japanese and totally unwilling to aid the United States in improving morale of the troops by providing his time and effort as a baseball player.