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Joe DiMaggio’s stamp creates confusion, does it show him batting left-handed?

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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You're not alone if you did a double take upon seeing the new Joe DiMaggio stamp that was released by the United States Postal Service last month.

So many people have looked at the Yankee Clipper's likeness on the "Forever" stamp and came away thinking he had been mistakenly portrayed as a left-handed batter that the system's official blog felt compelled to pen a clarification on Monday.

From the USPS:

The Yankee Clipper was a right-handed batter, and he is indeed following through on his right-handed swing. However, due to the size of the stamp, you can't see that his lower torso and legs are twisted as they would be on his follow-through. The stamp artist, Kadir Nelson, also had to slightly change the position of the bat in order to show all of it. If this had been a photograph, you would've been able to see that when DiMaggio followed through, his bat was extended fully away from his body and nearly parallel to the ground.

Any initial confusion is understandable. Nelson's depiction of DiMaggio's 90-degree follow-through makes it look like he's either batting left-handed or admiring at a pretty approach shot on the golf course. It definitely doesn't look like the Joltin' Joe backswing (below) that DiMaggio made famous during his 56-game streak and Hall of Fame career.  

But all it really takes to clear things up is a glance at the placement of DiMaggio's hands. They're exactly where they're supposed to be for a right-handed batter so it's not hard to imagine he's being portrayed as following through, albeit very awkwardly.

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It would've been nice for Nelson and the USPS to go for a more accurate DiMaggio design, especially considering this is the late legend's first appearance on a stamp. It hasn't hurt sales, though, as the issue honoring DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Willie Stargell and Larry Doby set presale records before their release on July 20.


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(AP file)

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