Joe Rein Writings


The Impossible Dream

As a kid, had a bud named Sal, a tough street fighter who gave it a shot as a pro heavyweight. No amateur experience --just balls and a big punch.

Sal worshiped at the altar of Joe DiMaggio; everything out of his mouth was: Joe DiMaggio this and Joe DiMaggio that, and he was the best Italian athlete ever...and blah, blah, blah. Never stopped.

Every day Sal got pounded sparring, and it was worse in his few prelims.

When he packed-it-in, he opened an Italian restaurant in Queens named "Jolt'n Joe's." Every inch covered with pictures and paintings of DiMaggio. The wallpaper was Yankee pinstripes.

Our crew dined at Jolt'n Joe's weekly, but it was near impossible to eat with all Sal's DiMaggio stories.

I had a friend who did business with people connected to DiMaggio and I told him about Sal what a thrill it would be for him if DiMaggio would come to his restaurant.

Not long after, the guy called back and said Joe would be there Friday at 8 P.M.

So, I round-up the guys, and make it our business to be in Jolt'n Joe's early... Couldn't wait to see Sal's expression when DiMaggio came in the door.

We made small talk...but it was killing us. Finally, at 8 sharp, the door opened. It was DiMaggio--"Joe D," in person-- dapper as you could imagine in a double-breasted sharkskin suit.

Thought Sal was gonna have a coronary. His mouth dropped open; eyes wide as saucers. He practically leaped over to DiMaggio: "Joe...Joe! This is the greatest dream of my life! I never thought I would ever meet you. Look... your pictures every place! You been my hero since I was kid!"

We gulped.

"Sit! Sit! Joe. I make you something personally" Sal almost kissed us heading to the kitchen.

Joe sat, waiting. We had goose bumps seeing Sal's dream come true.

When Sal came out and placed the food on the table, he said to Joe, with eyes glistening: "My son feels the same way about you, Joe. Could you autograph this menu... to Paulie?"

DiMaggio looked up, "I get $5 for that."

All the air was sucked out of the room.

Sal looked at him... not believing his ears, then hurled himself at DiMaggio, trying to strangle him, yelling, "YOU MISERABLE MUTHA FUCKER!

It took all of us to pull him off DiMaggio. Sal kept trying to dive back at him. We were barely able to yank DiMaggio free and back in his car.

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