Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Tales of the Yankee Clipper by Jonathan Weeks @GoddessFish


by Jonathan Weeks

GENRE: NonFiction Sports Biography


There has probably never been a professional baseball player more of a puzzle than Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio had a talent for keeping his emotions suppressed and his innermost thoughts to himself. Few could say that they really knew him. And even the ones who did found him to be unpredictable. He was a walking contradiction. He was quiet, but not necessarily shy. He could be both gracious and abrupt, approachable or aloof depending on the situation. Although he came across as humble, he had a tremendous sense of entitlement. He was complex, secretive, inscrutable. There were many layers to the man who came to be affectionately known as the “Yankee Clipper.” DiMaggio always felt that his actions on the field should do the talking for him. And for the most part, they did. To many, DiMaggio personified elegance, style, and grace. An impeccable dresser, he was married to two glamorous actresses. On the field, he glided almost effortlessly, never having to dive for a ball and rarely (if ever) making a mistake on the basepaths. He became the living embodiment of the American dream and a symbol of the country’s so-called “greatest generation.” But as time marched on, DiMaggio grew increasingly distrustful of the people around him. It was understandable—inevitable even. The third book in Jonathan Week’s Yankees trilogy contains an abundance of anecdotes, statistics, and other little known facts about the Yankee Clipper.




Among the most popular folk-rock duos of the 1960s, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel began writing songs together when they were in grade school. By the time they embarked upon solo careers during the 1970s, they had won ten Grammy Awards. Some of their highest charting hits included “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “The Sound of Silence,” and “Mrs. Robinson.” The latter song, which contains multiple lines about Joe DiMaggio, deeply offended the Yankee idol until he understood the meaning of the lyrics.

Released in 1968, “Mrs. Robinson” was written in reference to Eleanor Roosevelt, who Simon greatly admired. The tune was actually entitled “Mrs. Roosevelt” until the popular duo changed the name to make it fit the Academy Award-winning movie it was being featured in (The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft). “Mrs. Robinson” was a smash hit for Simon and Garfunkel, peaking at number-one on the Billboard charts and remaining there for several weeks. The four-minute musical masterpiece, which is about better days gone by, suggests that DiMaggio faded from the spotlight at a time when the American public needed him most. When the retired Yankee slugger heard about the lyrics, he believed that Simon was making him out to be some sort of deadbeat and threatened to sue.

As fate would have it, the two American icons had a chance encounter in Lattanzi’s restaurant on West 46th Street in New York. Simon, who was a lifelong Yankee fan, had heard about Joe’s beef with the song. Upon spotting the legendary Hall of Famer at a nearby table, he worked up the courage to say ‘hello.’ DiMaggio invited him to sit down and immediately started talking about Simon’s lyrics.

What I don’t understand,” said Joe, “is why you ask where I’ve gone. I just did a Mr. Coffee commercial. I’m a spokesman for the Bowery Savings Bank and I haven’t gone anywhere.”

I don’t mean it that way,” Simon explained. “I mean, where are these great heroes now?”

When DiMaggio realized that Simon considered him a hero and that the song was actually about how much he meant to people, he was flattered. The two shook hands and remained in each other’s good graces from that day forward. Interestingly, Simon was forced to explain himself to Mickey Mantle while taping an episode of The Dick Cavett Show. Mantle, who was actually Simon’s favorite player while growing up, asked the singer why he hadn’t used his name in place of DiMaggio’s. Simon explained that Mickey’s name had the wrong number of syllables.

Interview with Jonathan Weeks

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It depends on the day and the project. I usually start early in the morning—around 5:30 am. I know right away what kind of day it’s going to be because the words are either there or they aren’t. On good days, my thoughts flow effortlessly. On bad days, I have to hammer manuscripts into shape one sentence at a time. That can be incredibly frustrating. I’m pretty stubborn, so I usually stick with it—even when I know I ought to put the work aside.

What is the first book that made you cry?

I want to say it was a Curious George book—maybe Curious George Goes to the Hospital (can’t remember the title). But George broke his arm and there was a picture of him in tears with his arm all bent out of shape. I cried when I saw it. I was a sensitive kid. And now I’m a sensitive adult. LOL

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

There’s a language to sports writing you have to learn on the fly. The more you write about a particular sport, the more natural it feels. You have to be careful to get all your facts straight. And that can be tricky when there are so many conflicting sources.

What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

My last several books have been non-fiction, so it’s not something I deal with regularly. When I do write fiction, my characters are usually amalgams of people I have come to know over the years. I try to make them unrecognizable so no one close to me gets insulted or hurt. LOL

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was young and my parents tried to engage us in activities that didn’t cost much. My Mom used to take us to the library once a week. It was something my sisters and I really enjoyed. I remember taking out a book about the World Series when I was in fourth grade. I loved that book so much I must have borrowed it at least half a dozen times. I told myself that I would write about the World Series some day. Years later, I actually got a chance to do that

What do you like to read in your free time?

I read a lot of biographies and classics but I’m also a big fan of science fiction and supernatural horror. I recently finished the Silo series by Hugh Howey. And there is a Stephen King short story collection coming out this year that is on my reading list. I like King’s short stories even better than his novels.

Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

I would love to, but most or all of the people in my DiMaggio biography are deceased. I am fixated on old-time baseball it seems. One of my daughters recently joked, “Hey Dad, why don’t you stop writing books about dead people?” I guess she has a point.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

My father was a sports fan. He was the one who drew my attention to the Super Bowl and the World Series. He also used to take me to college hockey games. When I was younger, I played baseball but it was obvious I could never make a career out of it. So I decided to write about the topic. In addition to several baseball books, I wrote a book about my favorite hockey team. It’s called Best of the Bruins: Boston’s All-Time Great Hockey Players and Coaches.

How do you begin writing a new book? What challenges come with it?

It’s important to pick a subject that genuinely interests you because you’re going to be married to the material for quite awhile. I’ve never found the preliminary process to be too difficult. There are a lot of topics that interest me and I know how to create outlines. Sometimes, the most challenging part of non-fiction is finding enough sources to gather material from.

Share a place that inspires you to write.

I always write in my office at home. It’s a real mess at the moment so I’m not including pictures. LOL

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jonathan Weeks has written several sports biographies and two novels, one of which was a posthumous collaboration with his father. He grew up in the Capital District region of New York State and currently works in the mental health field.

Connect with Jonathan Weeks




$25 Amazon/BN GC

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Jonathan Weeks said...

Good morning! And thanks so much for hosting! I'm hoping to interact with readers today, so feel free to hit me up with any questions or comments. I'll respond as soon as I can.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for featuring today's book.

Marcy Meyer said...

The blurb sounds really interesting. What lead to you writing a trilogy of books about the Yankees?

Jonathan Weeks said...

Marcy: I've been a fan of the Yankees since I was 10 years old. I have always wanted to write about some of my favorite players. I'm thinking that, in the future, I may even write another Yankee biography--maybe Yogi Berra. He was such a colorful guy.

Sherry said...

Looks like a good read.

Daniel M said...

sounds like a fun one

Ally Swanson - FAB said...

Fantastic author interview!!! I really enjoyed reading it!!!