William C. Greene was a fixture on the New York sports scene decades ago, even if most fans didn’t really know him.
A prolific photographer who spent much of his career with the New York World-Telegram, Greene’s work regularly appeared in print.
Greene was 36 when he captured this photo of a young Joe DiMaggio, who was just beginning what would be a legendary career.
The 8×10 photo bears Greene’s World-Telegram stamp on the back and has been authenticated as a Type I original by PSA/DNA. It’s among the featured items in RMY Auctions’ current sale, set to close this weekend.
While the photo isn’t dated, it’s among the earliest locally produced posed photos of DiMaggio in uniform during his first season. It eventually wound up in the archives of The Sporting News and a hologram identifier is on the back.
The San Francisco native had made a splash at spring training and made his major league debut on May 3, 1936, hitting ahead of Lou Gehrig in the Yankee lineup. Adding DiMaggio turned the Yankees back into a powerhouse. He belted 29 homers, setting a franchise record for rookies that stood until Aaron Judge swatted 52 in 2017. The Yankees went on to win the first of four straight World Series titles beginning that fall.
During his 13-year career, DiMaggio led the Yankees to nine titles.
A World War I veteran, Greene went on to become president of the Press Photographers Association in New York. He died at age 62 in 1963.