The Three DiMaggio Brothers
A Family of Athletes
It is remarkable that with the variety of talents the three DiMaggio brothers had, that all three of them played the same position on the baseball field. For some reason, perhaps having to do with running, fielding, and throwing abilities, center field was the position they chose.
Although Joe DiMaggio is the most famous of the three brothers, he was in the middle as far as age goes. The oldest brother, Vince, really was responsible for instigating the interest of Joe and young Dom in playing baseball professionally.
At a time when practically every able-bodied boy in America tried his hand at swinging a baseball bat and dreaming of hitting a home run, Mr. DiMaggio, Senior, wanted his three sons to follow in his footsteps by being a fisherman with a fishing boat docked at Fisherman's Wharf on the north shore of San Francisco.
Vince--But the first-born son, Vince, got an opportunity to make money playing ball. He was good enough at it to play for a minor league team in the 1930's called the San Francisco Seals. The baseball diamond where the Seals played their home games still stands in San Francisco in a recreation park that includes a plaque commemorating Vince DiMaggio.
Joe--Looking up to his older brother, as younger brothers often do, Joe DiMaggio wanted to play pro ball for the Seals too. Dom helped to get Joe a try-out. With Joe's natural hitting and fielding abilities, he was a shoe-in for the job. Therefore, Joe DiMaggio was first a Seal, long before he ever dreamed of playing in New York City in the stadium known as "the house that Ruth built."
God gave Joe DiMaggio a good set of eyes. He didn't miss the ball very often when he swung the bat. Joe had a 61-game hitting streak with the Seals.
The Yankees scouts spotted Joe right away. He accepted the offer to join the Yankees--and the rest was history.
Joe DiMaggio became nationally famous for his 56-game hitting streak with the New York Yankees. During his 13 years in the majors, DiMaggio was the star of the baseball world in general for many reasons, not the least of which were his graceful swing in the batter's box and his handsome, congenial charisma in public.
The Yankees, backed by Joe DiMaggio, won the World Series nine times. Turning over the center-field job to a young player from Oklahoma named Mickey Mantle, DiMaggio made the decision to retire in 1951 at the age 37.
Two years later, he met and married Marilyn Monroe. They divorced because Joe objected to the famous photo of Marilyn's skirt blowing up in the air above a sidewalk grate in New York.
A few years later, back together again, they were considering remarriage just before she died unexpectedly. Joe then, and constantly thereafter, had red roses delivered to Marilyn's grave three times a week for 20 years.
When Joe DiMaggio passed away, his last words were, “I'll finally get to see Marilyn.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_DiMaggio)
Vince--Older brother Vince DiMaggio also was discovered by professional baseball scouts while playing for the San Francisco Seals.
Vince started his major league career with the Boston “Bees” in 1937. The "Bees" kept that old name just temporarily. They were better known as the Boston Braves, who later became the Milwaukee Braves, and then the Atlanta Braves.
With the Boston "Bees" Vince was a good home-run hitter, but unfortunately he also set the league record for strike outs. Vince then went on to play for several other teams (Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Giants) before retiring in 1946.
Dom--The youngest DiMaggio brother, Dom, played for the Red Sox, Boston's main major-league team in the American League. He was an all-star for seven years and is in the Red Sox Hall of Fame at Boston in honor of his great hitting and fielding abilities.
Like brother Joe, Dom became famous for a long hitting streak. His streak lasted 34 games and is a record that's stood since 1949 in Boston. Possibly because he was relatively short and wore eyeglasses, Dom DiMaggio was nicknamed “The Little Professor.”
Dom was a great player. Many fans and teammates, including his friend Ted Williams, considered Dom just as valuable a player as his older, celebrity brother Joe.
Therefore, the three DiMaggios of days gone by were among the most memorable families who produced great baseball players loved by their fans all over America.