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Why we need sporting heroes—and how they change our childhoods

They are unimaginably distant figures whose reigns and lives still somehow revealed something about our own

Joe DiMaggio and Mariyln Monroe. DiMaggio was tktk. (Photo from the cover of the January 1954 issue of Now magazine.)

Long after he’d retired, the great American baseball player Joe DiMaggio was being driven around rural New England looking for the autograph show where he was supposed to sign merchandise. He got lost, and his manager, who was at the wheel, pulled over by the side of the road to ask directions. Middle of nowhere, some farmer on his…

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