Dahlgren: My grandfather’s baseball vision through the viewfinder

From SABR member Matt Dahlgren at WordPress.com on September 3, 2015:

There was something about Joe DiMaggio’s swing that caught Babe [Dahlgren]’s eye as early as 1933; an intrigue that would lead him across the country almost 30 years later to capture it on film. DiMaggio, the young hometown star of the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, was in the middle of a hitting streak that would ultimately end at 61 games. Babe, a hometown star himself, was the first baseman for the San Francisco Mission Reds. One day that summer while holding Joe on first base, Babe asked DiMaggio what he thought about at the plate. What made him such a great hitter? Joe’s response was honest and short, “I don’t know. I guess I’m just a natural.”

The two met up again, this time as teammates with the New York Yankees from 1937-1940. It was around this time that Babe bought his first movie camera, a 16mm Bell & Howell. It was always with him, secured inside a hard black leather case. He’d film his teammates on and off the field and various attractions in the big cities they’d visit. He even took some incredible footage from the World’s Fair of 1939-1940.

By now, Joe DiMaggio had established himself as the premier star of Major League Baseball. Once again, my grandfather found himself fascinated by his perfect swing. He would study Joe during his at bats by holding his cap up to his face and peering through one of the eyelets; lining him up inside the small circle, thus blocking out everything else. Like a camera man looking through a view finder.

Read the full article here: https://mattdahlgren12.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/his-vision-through-the-viewfinder/

Originally published: September 3, 2015. Last Updated: September 3, 2015.