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Dom DiMaggio passes


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#1 Nuf Ced


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 05:40 AM

The Boston Herald is reporting that Dom DiMaggio passed away at 1 am this morning.

http://www.bostonher...mp;pos=breaking

Farewell to the l'il professor and a classy gentleman.

#2 Lefty on the Mound


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 06:01 AM

A true gentleman and a warm human being, Dominic DiMaggio will always have a spot in the hearts of my father and me for an encounter we had with him in 1999.

May the Good Lord take your spirit into his arms, Dom.

#3 mabrowndog


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 06:02 AM

Dom died this morning at his waterfront home on Sippican Neck in Marion. The youngest and last surviving DiMaggio brother was 92.

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"The Little Professor" played his entire 11-year career with the Sox, making his debut on opening day in 1940 and earning selection to the AL All-Star Team in 1941 and 1942. Like many players of his era, he lost what might have been his career peak seasons to World War II, serving in the US Coast Guard for three years (ages 26-27-28). While serving in the Pacific, he played on several U.S. Navy All-Star teams, and appeared in the same outfield with older brothers Joe and Vince on three occasions.

Upon his return, he reclamed the center field job with the Red Sox for the next seven seasons from 1946 through 1952, and was named an All-Star again in five of those years. He lost his starting role to 23-year-old Jimmy Piersall in 1953, and appeared in just three games as a pinch-hitter that season before retiring in May at age 36. He remains one of the most successful lead-off hitters in Red Sox history, and finished his career with a .298 BA, .383 OBP, 100 SB and 1,046 runs scored. His 34-game hitting streak in 1949 remains a team record, and he also fashioned a 27-game streak in 1951. Dom scored 100 or more runs 7 times, leading the league twice. He also finished in the Top 10 in the AL batting race three times, including a third-place finish in 1950 with a career-high .328 average.

Dom's exit from the game coincided with his soaring fortunes as a businessman. With two partners, he bought American Latex in Lawrence MA, eventually becoming the sole proprietor. He later acquired Delaware Valley Corporation, turning it into one of the nation's leading manufacturers of synthetic fabrics. He also invested in and developed commercial real estate across the country, including DiMaggio's Restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf in his hometown of San Francisco. Dom further cemented his sports legacy in New England by co-founding the Boston Patriots of the American Football League.

On October 24, 2004, he joined his former teammates Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky to throw out the ceremonial first pitches prior to Game 2 of the World Series.

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He leaves his wife of 60 years, the former Emily Alberta Frederick; two sons, Dominic Paul Jr. and Peter; and a daughter, Emily.

Edited by mabrowndog, 08 May 2009 - 06:17 AM.


#4 OttoC


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:14 AM

"He's better than his brother Joe - Dominic DiMaggio."--a chant heard around Fenway Park many years ago, and while he didn't have Joe's bat he managed an OPS+ of 111 and he was a better outfielder, and by accounts that I have read, he was a much nicer person. Two out of three ain't bad. Thank you for all the years, Mr. DiMaggio.

#5 keving18

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:23 AM

Bobby and Johnny are still with us, thank goodness.

RIP, Dom. You led what's called the "well-lived life".

#6 DLew On Roids


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:42 AM

A better man than a ballplayer. And he was a damn good ballplayer.

#7 CR67dream

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:57 AM

DLew got it perfect, I was fortunate enough to meet Dom at a restaurant I worked at years ago. I found out he was there because the owner came into the kitchen all excited that "Marilyn Monroe's brother-in-law" was in the house. Let's just say that she is now well aware that Dom's life is/was not defined by any such thing. Dom didn't need to be in anyone's shadow. He had a hell of a life.

What an incredibly nice guy, too. RIP, Little Professor.

#8 The Last DiMaggio

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:05 AM

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Trot, Dom, Johnny and Bill Mueller in Cooperstown....old school


I met Dom at the Inaugural Red Sox Hall of Fame dinner and had a chance to tell him he was my favorite Red Sox player of all-time. He said "My God, you're too young to even know who I am". I showed him an article written by Sports Collectors Digest about my Dom DiMaggio memorabilia collection and he laughed out loud. He showed the article all around his table. He was incredibly gracious.

As George Washington said:
"I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."

Dom was that in spades.

RIP.

#9 mabrowndog


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:08 AM

Trot, Dom, Johnny and Bill Mueller in Cooperstown....old school

What an awesome photo. I'd love to find a larger version someplace.

#10 bernardsamuel

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:09 AM

My father of blessed memory was Dom's CPA when Dom was running American Latex Fibre Corp., which manufactured the "stuff" of car seats. In the 1965-1968 period when I was a Bentley undergraduate, my dad would take me during the summers to the factory, and I would do some very-junior accounting tasks with the accounting records. I recall Dom as a wonderful host.

When my father died in late 1970, my mother and I received a beautiful card from the Catholic Church indicating that masses were being said to honor my father; kindness transcends the boundaries of religion (we're Jewish), and I've kept Dom's gift all these decades. While we can't be surprised by the passing of 90+ y/o human beings, we can still be saddened - and I truly am saddened, but comforted by the memories of both Dom and my father. I have faith that my dad is doing Dom's books right now in Heaven. For the record, Dom always kept an honest set of books with no performance enhancements.

Edited by bernardsamuel, 08 May 2009 - 08:26 AM.


#11 V.I. Tessie

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:15 AM

Bad week for baseball fans.

Being the good Italian woman that she was, Dom was one of my Mom's favorite players. A helluva great guy.

RIP Dom DiMaggio

#12 alannathan

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:21 AM

For those who haven't read it, I highly recommend David Halberstam's fine book "The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship". The book is nominally about Dom, Johnny, and Bobby visiting Ted in Florida not long before Ted died. But in a larger sense, the book is about the long friendship of these four men. With the passing of Dom, only two remain. I will re-read the book in the coming days.

Edited by alannathan, 08 May 2009 - 08:22 AM.


#13 mabrowndog


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:23 AM

It should also be pointed out that Dom was the founder and first president of the BoSox Club, serving his term in 1967-68. Perhaps BoSoxLady, who was president in 2003-04, can shed more light on this.

#14 Jimy Hendrix

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:31 AM

"He's better than his brother Joe - Dominic DiMaggio."--a chant heard around Fenway Park many years ago, and while he didn't have Joe's bat he managed an OPS+ of 111 and he was a better outfielder, and by accounts that I have read, he was a much nicer person. Two out of three ain't bad. Thank you for all the years, Mr. DiMaggio.


I'm 23, so I have obviously little first hand experience of Dom playing. My dad, however, who was an older guy, taught me this cheer/song when I was a really young kid, and I can still remember the tune and and sing it to this day, although I thought it was "Who's better than his brother Joe? Dominic DiMaggio!"

I'll sing it a few times today, for Dom and for my dad.

#15 BoSoxLady


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:36 AM

There's a special place in my heart for Dommy. We met decades ago through business and when he realized that I knew who he was, he took to me immediately. Subsequently, we spent more time discussing the failings of the Red Sox than business. "The Red Sox will never win a championship until they have strength up the middle" was his mantra. I remember those words as if I heard them yesterday.

It wasn't long into our relationship when he asked if I heard about the BoSox Club. I was aware it was the Official Booster Club of the Red Sox but wasn't aware that he was its first President. He wasn't sure if they let girls in :rolling: but encouraged me to join. Upon investigation, I was distressed to discover that I had to be sponsored by three people. The only member I knew was Dom. Well, Dommy took care of everything and I was accepted. Second female member. 20 years later, I was elected to the Board of Directors and in 2003 was elected for a two-year term as president. First female president and the only president under whom the Red Sox won a World Championship. :rolling:

It goes without saying that without Dommy, my association with the Red Sox would not exist. In essence, there would be no Bash without him.

Great man, husband & father. Ironically, there's a BoSox Club luncheon today. Heavy hearts will fill the room.

#16 Doug Beerabelli


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:39 AM

I got the Halberstom book for XMAS, after having read the Johnny Pesky bio. Just a wonderful book.

The signed photo of Dom, Bobby and Johnny I won in the ALS auction is even more meaningful for me today.

RIP. What a great life he led, and enjoyed.

#17 LoweTek

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:51 AM

Johnny will be hearbroken. A sad day indeed. Dom was a warm and genuine man. May he go with God and find peace.

And thanks Cheri. Yours is a wonderful tribute and true reflection of the man as I knew him to be.

#18 biollante


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 10:00 AM

No Bash without Dom's influence ? Pretty amazing indeed. I didn't know that little tidbit. Thanks BSL.

#19 Smead Jolley

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 10:16 AM

I wasn't fortunate enough to have met Dom, but everything I've heard about him suggests that he was the Stan Musial of the AL as a person, which is high praise.

I can't say that I'm not sad to hear of his passing, but how sad can you be about a man living such a good life, having his health, being happily married with kids for so long, and living to past 90? Not much to be sad about there, really. Although, I know that he was sad that his brother Joe refused to stay close to him, not that Joe was close to anybody.

#20 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 10:44 AM

A couple of years ago I had the great opportunity to speak with DiMaggio twice. I was working on a book on Joe Cronin and had spoken to all of the other people but DiMaggio. I was nervous about it, but a couple of his teammates said, essentially, "You got to do it." I called him cold turkey. He was reluctant to talk much at first, but once I asked him a few questions and he got to remininiscing, the stories flowed out of him. Twenty minutes later he said, "Listen, my wife is waiting for me to go out, but can you call back tomorrow?"

I'm sure I have heard better sentences in my lifetime, but I can't think of many.

DiMaggio was an extremely bright man, one of the brightest ever in baseball I would guess. There are many great stories about DiMaggio that I ran across. One of my favoties. In the winter of 1945-46 (after the war) the Red Sox sent DiMaggio his contract, and he wrote back and said, more or less. "As I see things, I am now a free agent." In those days, communication was a bit slow, so the Red Sox sent Joe Cronin to see DiMaggio. Cronin, DiMaggio's manager, friend, and mentor, was in San Francisco visiting his father. DiMaggio tells Cronin that seeing as how he had not played in three years and had not signed a contract in that time, he was no longer bound by the reserve clause. Cronin likely had no idea what he was talking about. 30 years later, Andy Messersmith challenged the reserve clause on precisely these grounds, and an arbiter ruled in his favor. DiMaggio thought of it thirty years earlier.

When it was clear he was getting nowhere, DiMaggio instead asked for a huge raise. Cronin offered $11,000. DiMaggio got Cronin up to $16,000, plus an attendance clause--$500 for every 50,000 over 450,000. DiMaggio knew attendance was going to explode. He ended up getting an extra 9500 with this proviso. DiMaggio's contract negotiating became legendary with the team, and Cronin talked about it for years later.

When Lou Boudreau decided to try Tommy Umphlett in center field in 1953, DiMaggio retired a few weeks into the season. Everyone thought he was bluffing. He walked away, started his own company, and became a multi-millionaire.

A great man. Boston was lucky to have him.

Edited by LahoudOrBillyC, 08 May 2009 - 10:45 AM.


#21 rincome

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 11:02 AM

I was a 10 year old kid growing up in Revere in 1946 just learning to follow baseball and the Red Sox. I was able to sit in the center field bleachers behind the bullpens for less than a dollar including subway fare and watch Dom DiMaggio work his magic. I had uncles living in New Haven who were Yankee fans and teased me mecilessly. When I argued why, they said the Yankees had Joe D, Crossetti and before that "Push em up" Tony Lazzeri and when the Red Sox got such good Italians they would become fans. The only thing I could answer was we have Dom DiMaggio and what more could anyone want!! I live in San Francisco now within walking distance of North Beach where the DiMaggios grew up.

RIP and God Bless Dom - I am sure centerfield in heaven is now well covered.

Edited by rincome, 08 May 2009 - 11:04 AM.


#22 fenwaypaul

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 11:59 AM

For those who haven't read it, I highly recommend David Halberstam's fine book "The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship". The book is nominally about Dom, Johnny, and Bobby visiting Ted in Florida not long before Ted died. But in a larger sense, the book is about the long friendship of these four men. With the passing of Dom, only two remain. I will re-read the book in the coming days.

I'll second the endorsement of The Teammates; if you haven't read it yet, slap yourself right now, then go out and get a copy. And don't overlook Halberstam's earlier Summer of '49, which is also rich in anecdotes about Dom, his brother what's-his-name, and all the crazies who populated the Red Sox and Yankee teams of that era.

When I would marvel as a kid at Jimmy Piersall's exploits in center field, my father would always say, "You should have seen Dom DiMaggio." R.I.P., Dominic.

Edit: typo

Edited by fenwaypaul, 08 May 2009 - 06:17 PM.


#23 alannathan

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 12:17 PM

Nice obit in the NYT today. In recounting game 7 of the 1946 WS:

In the eighth inning, he hit a two-run double that tied the game at 3-3, but he injured a hamstring rounding first base. The Cardinals won the Series in the ninth inning on Enos Slaughter’s “mad dash” from first base when Leon Culberson, having replaced DiMaggio in center, made a weak relay to shortstop Johnny Pesky after fielding Harry Walker’s drive to left center, and Pesky hesitated before throwing home.

“Slaughter would never have scored if I’d been in center field,” DiMaggio maintained in “When the Boys Came Back” (Holt, 1996) a history of the 1946 season by Frederick Turner. “In fact, I might have had a play on him at third base because I’d have played that much farther over, and I’d have been charging the hell out of that ball.”


I didn't read that book and never saw that quote before.

#24 reggiecleveland


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 04:50 PM

I went through a rabid reading period about post war baseball a few years ago and Dom was universally regarded as a great guy and an under rated player. A lot of people discussed how much nicer he was than big brother and how modest he was about his post baseball business success. A few people credited him with making Ted and easier guy to live with in that Ted respected him enough to listen to him.

#25 SoxFanSince57


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 05:36 PM

As has been said: "Joe is the best hitter, Dom is the best fielder, and Vince is the best singer."

It always struck me that Dom DiMaggio was a very successful man and not just a baseball All-Star and Boston Red Sox Icon.

Like others have said, I encourage everyone to read David Halberstam outstanding book "The Teammates". It is really one of the best baseball books I have ever read, because it focuses on the history of four west coast boys who all grew into Red Sox legends and became friends for life.
Book Review
Excerpt from book

Read this tribute to Dom that Fay Vincent today and thought others might be interested.
Fay Vincent

A 1946 ditty made popular in Boston contained this phrase: "Who hits the ball and makes it go?/ Who runs the bases fast, not slow?/ Who's better than his brother Joe? Dominic DiMaggio....

Edited by SoxFanSince57, 08 May 2009 - 05:37 PM.


#26 dcmissle


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 05:48 PM

For those who haven't read it, I highly recommend David Halberstam's fine book "The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship". The book is nominally about Dom, Johnny, and Bobby visiting Ted in Florida not long before Ted died. But in a larger sense, the book is about the long friendship of these four men. With the passing of Dom, only two remain. I will re-read the book in the coming days.



Seconded ... it's a beautiful little book you'll devour over a weekend. It really makes these guys and "old" baseball come to life. And it's a bit spooky in restrospect considering how Halberstam went to the diamond in the sky.

#27 worm0082


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 06:09 PM

These were some nice lines from the espn story:

DiMaggio died at about 1 a.m. with the Red Sox television replay of Thursday night's game on in the background, said his son, Dominic Paul.

"He was in and out of consciousness, but he was acknowledging it. He was a Red Sox fan until the end," his son said.


He parlayed his numbers skills into a successful post-baseball business career and loved to play the stock market.

"That was his passion," his son said. "He'd watch the stock ticker all day and the Red Sox all night."

Edited by worm0082, 08 May 2009 - 06:14 PM.


#28 JohntheBaptist


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:00 PM

I'm a little surprised not to see some sort of black arm stripe (or a variation thereof) on the jerseys tonight. I suppose it could be something that had to wait to tomorrow to get done. Any word on whether they're planning on doing something like this for him?

#29 phrenile


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:48 PM

I'm a little surprised not to see some sort of black arm stripe (or a variation thereof) on the jerseys tonight. I suppose it could be something that had to wait to tomorrow to get done. Any word on whether they're planning on doing something like this for him?

Pre-game moment of silence, and they mowed a 7 into the outfield grass.

#30 The Allented Mr Ripley


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:42 PM

Yes, but you'd think a season-long memorial would be appropriate for a player of his stature within the organization.

#31 mabrowndog


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:26 PM

Yes, but you'd think a season-long memorial would be appropriate for a player of his stature within the organization.

I completely agree, Rip, but the team's track record suggests otherwise. A couple of weeks ago I added a SoSH Wiki page detailing the occasions in which the Sox have altered their uniforms to honor the deceased. Surprisingly, in the 109-year history of the team it's only happened 9 times and just 7 times for club personnel. The two exceptions were 9/11 and the Virginia Tech shootings. The team personnel included two owners (Tom & Jean Yawkey), a GM (Eddie Collins), and a manager (Chick Stahl).

The only former Sox players honored in this fashion were Harry Agganis, Tony C, and Ted. I suspect they'll do so for Pesky and Doerr, but you're absolutely right that Dom's legacy deserves a similar memorial.

#32 bmacfarlane


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:37 PM

Nice obit in the NYT today. In recounting game 7 of the 1946 WS:

This is exactly what I was thinking of when I heard of The Little Professor's death. RIP Dom.

#33 worm0082


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Posted 09 May 2009 - 05:25 AM

I thought the same also (armband) I assumed it was because we were wearing those horrible red alternate unis. Guess we will find out today.

#34 The Last DiMaggio

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 05:34 AM

Posted Image

Here's a larger version of a slightly different photo from page 1. This is in the dugout at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.

#35 jacklamabe65


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Posted 09 May 2009 - 06:57 AM

Mr. D. was a family friend for more than fifty years. I attended school with the three DiMaggio children. The last time I saw both Mr. and Mrs. D. was at my mother's funeral three years ago. He was a gentleman, incredibly intelligent, thoughtful, and very loyal to his family and friends.

A wonderful story: The night before Game 2 of the 1967 World Series, Dom calls up my father and says, "Larry, I have two wonderful tickets for the game tomorrow next to Emily and me, and because you're the ONLY close friend who hasn't pestered me at all about tickets, I am asking you and Laurie."

Of course, my parents went and saw Lonnie pitch a near perfect game and Yax hit two homeruns.

A point of trivia: Mr. D. wanted to buy the Patriots from Billy Sullivan and was a major stockholder in the team throughout the 60's before the Sullivans pushed him out. He would have run them very differently.

Edited by jacklamabe65, 09 May 2009 - 07:08 AM.


#36 mabrowndog


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Posted 09 May 2009 - 08:43 AM

For those who missed it (and for those outside New England), NECN had a touching feature with Johnny Pesky in his home yesterday reminiscing about Dom and their times with Ted an Bobby.

And here's another clip of footage with Johnny going into more detail.

Here's a larger version of a slightly different photo from page 1. This is in the dugout at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.

Excellent shot. Thanks for posting this.

#37 Candy LaChance


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Posted 09 May 2009 - 08:46 AM

Yesterday on "Here and Now" (link) on NPR, they replayed an interview with Dom and Johnny, with some commentary by Halberstam. What a lovely few minutes it is to listen to them. Here's a screen shot of the page:

Posted Image

#38 Southpaw67

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 09:26 AM

Off topic, but whenever I see photos of players like Dom DiMaggio and others from that same era, I am always struck by how small and thin they are.
Yet they still managed to do some incredible things on the field and at the plate.

They're forming quite the team up there in heaven these days. JohnMal's going to get to see some good baseball.

#39 pokey_reese


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Posted 09 May 2009 - 11:14 AM

My great-godmother who knew him back in the day said that he was one of the nicest men she had ever met, and that he was a real gentleman, unlike a lot of other famous Italian men. She was always very proud to have him as a member of the community and talked about what a great ambassador he was. When the Sox won in '04 she mentioned how pleased he must have been, and spent a lot of time telling me about baseball in the 40s and 50s. Rest in peace, Dom.

#40 Spacemans Bong


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Posted 09 May 2009 - 02:00 PM

I was about 40 years too late in seeing Dominic play, but he's obviously a very special player to me. Other than Cronin, who really was only a full time player for seven years, he is the best Red Sox player ever to come from my hometown. He might be the best one anyway.

He was every bit as good as his brother and possibly better when it came to fielding and baserunning, and he walked more too. Even more importantly, Joe envied him for his incredible 61 year marriage to Dorothy, while Joe never quite found the one (or the one died young - you all know who). He was one of the best leadoff men of his time and probably deserves more consideration for the Hall of Fame than he gets, though he's not truly a Hall of Famer.

After Game 2 of the 2003 ALDS, I walked home from Balboa Park BART station and passed a car with a license plate holder that said "DOM DIMAGGIO, BOSTON RED SOX". I've always wondered if that was his car - not fanciful considering he kept a home in San Francisco and frequently revisited his hometown. Maybe it was a relatives. I thought about hanging around a while and seeing whether he'd turn up but decided against it. Too bad.

One last interesting tidbit. I have a 1955 Mutual Baseball Guide, and the effect the DiMaggios had on their fellow Italian-American San Franciscans is incredible. North Beach may have been the best place in the entire country to scout for baseball talent - at least a dozen North Beachers were on major league rosters that year, as many players as came from Brooklyn or Chicago. It's amazing. For a community that even in its heyday of the 1930s never numbered more than about 80,000, that's a breathtaking display of the quality of play on the playgrounds of the local Catholic schools and Washington Square.

Edited by Spacemans Bong, 09 May 2009 - 02:07 PM.


#41 phrenile


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Posted 09 May 2009 - 02:22 PM

Other than Cronin, who really was only a full time player for seven years, he is the best Red Sox player ever to come from my hometown. He might be the best one anyway.

Certainly better than Willie McGee's 1995 season.

#42 mabrowndog


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Posted 09 May 2009 - 03:23 PM

Joe envied him for his incredible 61 year marriage to Dorothy.

I think you meant Emily.

#43 Spacemans Bong


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Posted 09 May 2009 - 04:25 PM

I think you meant Emily.

Err uh yeah. Dorothy was Joe's first wife.

#44 HighHeat


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Posted 09 May 2009 - 07:25 PM

He was every bit as good as his brother and possibly better when it came to fielding and baserunning, and he walked more too.

Vince?

I agree wholeheartedly.