Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio

Center fielder
Born: November 25, 1914(1914-11-25)
Martinez, California
Died: March 8, 1999(1999-03-08) (aged 84)
Hollywood, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
May 3, 1936 for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1951 for the New York Yankees
Career statistics
Batting average     .325
Hits     2,214
Home runs     361
Runs batted in     1,537
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction     1955
Vote     88.84% (third ballot: first eligible in 1953)
Seven of the American League's 1937 All-Star players, from left to right Lou Gehrig, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Foxx, and Hank Greenberg. All seven would eventually be elected to the Hall of Fame.

Joseph Paul "Joe" DiMaggio (November 25, 1914 – March 8, 1999), nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15–July 16, 1941), a record that still stands.[1] DiMaggio was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.

DiMaggio was a three-time MVP winner and 13-time All-Star (the only player to be selected for the All-Star Game in every season he played). In his thirteen year career the Yankees won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships.

At the time of his retirement, he had the fifth-most career home runs (361) and sixth-highest slugging percentage (.579) in history. A 1969 poll conducted to coincide with the centennial of professional baseball voted him the sport's greatest living player.[2]

Joe DiMaggio was the middle of three brothers who each became major league center fielders, the others being Vince and Dom.

Contents

Early life

DiMaggio was born in Martinez, California, the eighth of nine children born to immigrants from Italy, Giuseppe (1872–1949) and Rosalia (Mercurio) DiMaggio (1878–1951). He was delivered by a midwife identified on his birth certificate as Mrs. J. Pico. He was named after his father; "Paolo" was in honor of Giuseppe's favorite saint, Saint Paul. The family moved to San Francisco, California, when Joe was one year old.

Giuseppe was a fisherman, as were generations of DiMaggios before him. DiMaggio's brother, Tom, told biographer Maury Allen that Rosalia's father, also a fisherman, wrote to her that Giuseppe could earn a better living in California than in their native Isola delle Femmine.

After being processed on Ellis Island, he worked his way across America, eventually settling near Rosalia's father in Pittsburg, California. After four years, he was able to earn enough money to send for her and their daughter, who was born after he had left for the United States.

It was Giuseppe's hope that his five sons would become fishermen.[3] DiMaggio recalled that he would do anything to get out of cleaning his father's boat, as the smell of dead fish nauseated him. Giuseppe called him "lazy" and "good for nothing".

DiMaggio was playing semi-pro ball when older brother Vince DiMaggio, playing for the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, talked his manager into letting DiMaggio fill in at shortstop. He made his professional debut on October 1, 1932.

From May 27 – July 25, 1933, he got at least one hit in a PCL-record 61 consecutive games:[4] "Baseball didn't really get into my blood until I knocked off that hitting streak. Getting a daily hit became more important to me than eating, drinking or sleeping."

In 1934, his career almost ended. Going to his sister's house for dinner, he tore the ligaments in his left knee while stepping out of a jitney.

The Seals at the time were hoping to sell DiMaggio's contract for $100,000. Scout Bill Essick of the New York Yankees was convinced that Joe could overcome his knee injury and pestered the club to give DiMaggio another look. After DiMaggio passed a test on his knee, he was bought on November 21 for $25,000 and five players, with the Seals keeping him for the 1935 season. He batted .398 with 154 RBIs and 34 HRs, led the Seals to the 1935 PCL title, and was named the League's Most Valuable Player.

"The Yankee Clipper"

DiMaggio made his major league debut on May 3, 1936, batting ahead of Lou Gehrig. The Yankees had not been to the World Series since 1932, but they won the next four Fall Classics. In total, DiMaggio led the Yankees to nine titles in 13 years.[5]

Hank Greenberg told SPORT magazine as reported in its September 1949 issue that DiMaggio covered so much ground in center field that the only way to get a hit against the Yankees was "to hit 'em where Joe wasn't." DiMaggio also stole home five times in his career.

YankeesRetired5.svg
Joe DiMaggio's number 5 was retired by the New York Yankees in 1952.

Through May 2009 DiMaggio was tied for third all-time with Mark McGwire in home runs over his first two calendar years in the major leagues (77), behind Phillies Hall of Famer Chuck Klein (83), and Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun (79).[6]

DiMaggio was nicknamed the "Yankee Clipper" by Yankee's stadium announcer Arch McDonald in 1939, when he likened DiMaggio's speed and range in the outfield to the then-new Pan American airliner.[7]

Through 2011, he was one of seven major leaguers to have had at least four 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons in their first five years, along with Chuck Klein, Ted Williams, Ralph Kiner, Mark Teixeira, Albert Pujols, and Ryan Braun.[8]

In 1947, Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and Yankees GM Larry MacPhail verbally agreed to trade DiMaggio for Ted Williams, but MacPhail refused to include Yogi Berra.[9]

DiMaggio in 1951.

On February 7, 1949, DiMaggio signed a record contract worth $100,000 ($921,000 in current dollar terms) ($70,000 plus bonuses), and became the first baseball player to break $100,000 in earnings. After a poor 1951 season, a scouting report by the Brooklyn Dodgers that was turned over to the New York Giants and leaked to the press, and various injuries, DiMaggio announced his retirement on December 11, 1951.[10] When remarking on his retirement to the Sporting News on December 19, 1951, he said

"I feel like I have reached the stage where I can no longer produce for my club, my manager, and my teammates. I had a poor year, but even if I had hit .350, this would have been my last year. I was full of aches and pains and it had become a chore for me to play. When baseball is no longer fun, it's no longer a game, and so, I've played my last game."

He might have had better power-hitting statistics had his home park not been Yankee Stadium. As "The House That Ruth Built", its nearby right field favored the Babe's left-handed power. For right-handed hitters, its deep left and center fields were almost impossible to get a home run: Mickey Mantle recalled that he and Whitey Ford witnessed many blasts that DiMaggio hit that would have been home runs anywhere else, but, at the Stadium, were merely long outs (Ruth himself fell victim to that problem, as he also hit many long fly outs to center). Bill James calculated that DiMaggio lost more home runs due to his home park than any other player in history. Left-center field went as far back as 457 ft [139 m], compared to ballparks today where left-center rarely reaches 380 ft [116 m]. A perfect illustration of this is the famous Al Gionfriddo's catch in the 1947 World Series, which was close to the 415-foot mark [126 m] in left-center. Had it happened in the Yankees current ballpark, it would have been well into the seats for a home run. To illustrate, DiMaggio hit 148 home runs in 3,360 at-bats at home, and in contrast, he hit 213 home runs in 3,461 at-bats on the road. His slugging percentage at home was .546, and on the road, it was .610. Expert statistician, Bill Jenkinson, made a statement on these statistics:

DiMaggio's plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

For example, Joe DiMaggio was acutely handicapped by playing at Yankee Stadium. Every time he batted in his home field during his entire career, he did so knowing that it was physically impossible for him to hit a home run to the half of the field directly in front of him. If you look at a baseball field from foul line to foul line, it has a 90-degree radius. From the power alley in left center field (430 in Joe's time) to the fence in deep right center field (407 ft), it is 45-degrees. And Joe DiMaggio never hit a single home run over the fences at Yankee Stadium in that 45-degree graveyard. It was just too far. Joe was plenty strong; he routinely hit balls in the 425-foot range. But that just wasn't good enough in cavernous Yankee Stadium. Like Ruth, he benefited from a few easy homers each season due to the short foul line distances. But he lost many more than he gained by constantly hitting long fly outs toward center field. Whereas most sluggers perform better on their home fields, DiMaggio hit only 41 percent of his career home runs in the Bronx. He hit 148 homers at Yankee Stadium. If he had hit the same exact pattern of batted balls with a typical modern stadium as his home, he would have belted about 225 homers during his home field career.

He became eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953. DiMaggio told Baseball Digest in 1963 that the Brooklyn Dodgers had offered him their managerial job in 1953, but he turned it down. He was not elected to the Hall until 1955; the rules were revised in the interim, with DiMaggio and Ted Lyons excepted, extending the waiting period from one year to five.

Hitting streak

DiMaggio kisses his bat in 1941.

DiMaggio's most famous achievement is his Major League record, 56-game hitting streak in 1941. The streak began on May 15, 1941, when DiMaggio went one-for-four against Chicago White Sox pitcher Eddie Smith.[11] Major newspapers began to write about DiMaggio's streak early on, but once he began to approach George Sisler's modern era record of 41 games, it became a national phenomenon. Initially, DiMaggio showed little interest in breaking Sisler's record, saying "I'm not thinking a whole lot about it... I'll either break it or I won't."[12] However, as he approached Sisler's record, DiMaggio showed more interest, saying, "At the start I didn't think much about it... but naturally I'd like to get the record since I am this close."[13] On June 29, 1941, DiMaggio doubled in the first game of a doubleheader against the Washington Senators at Griffith Stadium to tie Sisler's record, and then singled in the nightcap to extend his streak to 42.[14][15]

52,832 fans came to Yankee Stadium on July 1 to watch DiMaggio tie the all-time hitting streak record, 44 games set by Wee Willie Keeler in 1897. DiMaggio lined a single to center field to tie Keeler.[16] The next day against the Boston Red Sox, he homered into Yankee Stadium's left field stands to extend his streak to 45, setting a new record. DiMaggio recorded 67 hits in 179 at-bats during the first 45 games of his streak, while Keeler recorded 88 hits in 201 chances.[17] DiMaggio continued hitting after breaking Keeler's record, reaching 50 straight games on July 11 against the St. Louis Browns.[18] On July 17, at Cleveland Stadium, DiMaggio's streak was finally snapped at 56 games, thanks in part to third baseman Ken Keltner making two backhand stops behind third base to throw out DiMaggio by a step.[19] DiMaggio batted .408 during the streak, with 15 home runs and 55 RBI.[20] After his 56-game streak ended, DiMaggio began another streak the next day that lasted 17 games, giving him the distinction of hitting safely in 73 of 74 games, also a record.[21][22]

Today, DiMaggio's streak is considered a uniquely outstanding and unbreakable record[23]; the closest anyone has ever come to equaling DiMaggio since 1941 was Pete Rose, who hit in 44 straight games in 1978.[24][25]

Wartime

DiMaggio enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces on February 17, 1943, rising to the rank of sergeant. He was stationed at Santa Ana, California, Hawaii, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a physical education instructor. He was discharged in September 1945.[citation needed]

Giuseppe and Rosalia DiMaggio were among the thousands of German, Japanese and Italian immigrants classified as "enemy aliens" by the government after Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan. They had to carry photo ID booklets at all times, and were not allowed to travel outside a five-mile radius from their home without a permit. Giuseppe was barred from the San Francisco Bay, where he had fished for decades, and his boat was seized. Rosalia became an American citizen in 1944; Giuseppe in 1945.[citation needed]

Married life

Dorothy Arnold

In January 1937, DiMaggio met actress Dorothy Arnold on the set of Manhattan Merry-Go-Round, in which he had a minor role and she was an extra. They married at San Francisco's St. Peter and Paul Church on November 19, 1939, as 20,000 well-wishers jammed the streets. Their son, Joseph Paul DiMaggio III was born at Doctors Hospital on October 23, 1941.[26]

Marilyn Monroe

Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe staying at Imperial Hotel in Tokyo on their honeymoon.

According to her autobiography, Marilyn Monroe originally did not want to meet DiMaggio, fearing he was a stereotypical arrogant athlete. They eloped at San Francisco City Hall on January 14, 1954.

DiMaggio biographer Richard Ben Cramer asserts that their marriage was filled with "violence".[citation needed] One typical forceful incident occurred immediately after the skirt-blowing scene in The Seven Year Itch which was filmed on September 14, 1954, in front of New York's Trans-Lux Theater. Then-20th Century Fox's East Coast correspondent Bill Kobrin told the Palm Springs Desert Sun that it was Billy Wilder's idea to turn the shoot into a media circus. The couple then had a "yelling battle" in the theater lobby.[27] She filed for divorce on grounds of mental cruelty 274 days after the wedding.

On August 1, 1956, International News wire photo of DiMaggio with Lee Meriwether speculated that the couple was engaged, but Cramer wrote that it was a rumor started by Walter Winchell. Monroe biographer Donald Spoto wrote that DiMaggio was "very close to marrying" 1957 Miss America Marian McKnight, who won the crown with a Marilyn Monroe act, but McKnight denied it.[28] He was also linked to Liz Renay, Cleo Moore, Rita Gam, Marlene Dietrich, and Gloria DeHaven during this period, and to Elizabeth Ray and Morgan Fairchild years later, but he never publicly confirmed any involvement with any woman.

DiMaggio re-entered Monroe's life as her marriage to Arthur Miller was ending. On February 10, 1961, he secured her release from Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic. She joined him in Florida where he was a batting coach for the Yankees. Their "just friends" claim did not stop remarriage rumors from flying. Reporters staked out her apartment building. Bob Hope "dedicated" Best Song nominee "The Second Time Around" to them at the 33rd Academy Awards.

According to Maury Allen, DiMaggio was so alarmed at how Monroe had fallen in with people he felt detrimental to her well-being, he quit his job with a military post-exchange supplier on August 1, 1962, to ask her to remarry him; she was found dead on August 5. DiMaggio's son, Joe Jr., had spoken to Monroe on the phone the night of her death and had claimed she seemed fine.[29] Her death was deemed a probable suicide but has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories. Devastated, he claimed her body and arranged her funeral, barring Hollywood's elite. He had a half-dozen red roses delivered three times a week to her crypt for 20 years.[30] Unlike her other two husbands or others who knew her (or claimed to), he refused to talk about her publicly or otherwise exploit their relationship. He never married again.

Advertising

In the 1970s, DiMaggio was a spokesman for Mr. Coffee, becoming the face for Mr.Coffee electric coffee makers for over 20 years. Also in 1972, DiMaggio became a spokesman for The Bowery Savings Bank. With the exception of a five-year hiatus in the 1980's, DiMaggio regularly made commercials for the financial institution up till 1992.[31]

Death

DiMaggio's grave

DiMaggio, a heavy smoker for much of his adult life, was admitted to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, on October 12, 1998, for lung cancer surgery, and remained there for 99 days.[32] He returned to his Florida home on January 19, 1999, where he died on March 8.

DiMaggio's funeral was held on March 11, 1999, at Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in San Francisco.[33] DiMaggio's son died that August at age 57.[34] DiMaggio is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, California.

Sports legacy

At his death in 1999, the New York Times called DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak in 1941, "perhaps the most enduring record in sports".[30]

DiMaggio's monument in Monument Park.

In an article in 1976 in Esquire magazine, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter," consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Joe DiMaggio was the center fielder on Stein's Italian team.

On September 17, 1992, the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, opened, for which he raised over $4,000,000.[30]

On April 13, 1998, DiMaggio was given the Sports Legend Award at the 13th annual American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame Awards Dinner in New York City. Dr. Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and a longtime fan of DiMaggio’s, made the presentation to the Yankee great. The event was one of DiMaggio’s last public appearances before taking ill.

Yankee Stadium's fifth monument was dedicated to DiMaggio on April 25, 1999, and the West Side Highway was officially renamed in his honor. The Yankees wore DiMaggio's number 5 on the left sleeves of their uniforms for the 1999 season. He is ranked #11 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was elected by fans to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

An auction of DiMaggio's personal items was held on May 19–20, 2006, by the adopted daughters of DiMaggio's son. Highlights included: the ball hit to break Wee Willie Keeler's hitting-streak record ($63,250); 2,000th career hit ball ($29,900); 1947 Most Valuable Player Award ($281,750); uniform worn in the 1951 World Series ($195,500); Hall of Fame ring ($69,000); photograph Marilyn autographed "I love you Joe" ($80,500); her passport ($115,000); their marriage certificate ($23,000). The event netted a total of $4.1 million.

He was pictured with his son on the cover of the inaugural issue of SPORT magazine in September, 1946.[35]

In addition to his number 5 being retired by the New York Yankees, DiMaggio's number is also retired by the Florida Marlins, who retired it in honor of their first team president, Carl Barger, who died five months before the team took the field for the first time in 1993. DiMaggio had been his favorite player.

On August 8, 2011, the United States Postal Service announced that DiMaggio will appear on a stamp for the first time. It will be issued as part of the "Major League Baseball All-Star stamp series", coming out in July, 2012.[36]

In popular culture

DiMaggio and Ronald Reagan at the White House, 1981

DiMaggio's popularity during his career was such that he was referenced in film, television, literature, art, and music both during his career and decades after he retired.

Art

Comics/graphic novels

DiMaggio in 1950.

Literature

Film

  • Wonder Boys: James steals the jacket that Marilyn Monroe wore the day she married DiMaggio from Walter Gaskell, who is obsessed with the DiMaggio-Monroe marriage

Based on him:

See also: Joe DiMaggio imdb.com (Character) page

Based on him

  • "Buck Wischnewski" in Alvah Bessie's novel The Symbol
  • "The Athlete" in Joyce Carol Oates's novel Blonde

Music

Television

See also: Joe DiMaggio imdb.com (Character) page

References

  1. ^ Arbesman, Samuel; Strogatz, Steven (2008, March 30). "A Journey to Baseball’s Alternate Universe". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/30/opinion/30strogatz.html?_r=1&oref=slogin. 
  2. ^ Callahan, Gerry (1999-07-19). "Hank Or Ted Or Willie Or...:Who's the best living ballplayer now that Joe DiMaggio's gone?". Sports Illustrated. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1016425/index.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  3. ^ Schwartz, Larry. Joltin' Joe was a hit for all reason, ESPN, accessed on March 12, 2009.
  4. ^ Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures, 2008 Edition, p.210, David Nemec and Scott Flatow, A Signet Book, Penguin Group, New York, NY, ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0
  5. ^ Kennedy, Kostya, "The Streak", Sports Illustrated, 14 March 2011, pp. 60-67 (Excerpted from 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports, 2011, Sports Illustrated Books).
  6. ^ Sandler, Jeremy, "NL Weekly: The Notebook," National Post, May 27, 2009, accessed 5/28/09.
  7. ^ Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life, Richard Ben Cramer, p. 152.
  8. ^ http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110917&content_id=24822414&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb
  9. ^ ESPN.com - Page2 - The List: Baseball's biggest rumors.
  10. ^ John Drebinger (1951-12-12). "DiMaggio Retires as Player but Expects to Remain in Yankee Organization". New York Times: p. 63. http://select.nytimes.com/mem/archive/pdf?res=FA0615FD35591A7B93C0A81789D95F458585F9. 
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  16. ^ Daley, Arthur (July 2, 1941). "Yankee Star Hits 44th Game in Row". New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70D1EF83E5B147B93C0A9178CD85F458485F9. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  17. ^ Bailey, Judson (July 3, 1941). "DiMaggio's Home Run Tops Keeler's Record". Ottawa Citizen. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=7vUuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4dsFAAAAIBAJ&dq=dimaggio%20keeler&pg=4157%2C435492. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  18. ^ Boni, Bill (July 12, 1941). "DiMaggio Runs Hitting Streak to 50 Straight". Times Daily. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=zAMsAAAAIBAJ&sjid=GroEAAAAIBAJ&dq=dimaggio%20streak%2050&pg=1355%2C386422. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
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  21. ^ "Does Ted Williams Own A More Impressive Streak Than Joe DiMaggio?". thepostgame.com. July 13, 2011. http://www.thepostgame.com/features/201107/does-ted-williams-own-more-impressive-streak-joe-dimaggio. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  22. ^ Baseball’s Top 100: The Game’s Greatest Records, p.5, Kerry Banks, 2010, Greystone Books, Vancouver, BC, ISBN 978-1-55365-507-7
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  27. ^ Goolsby, Denise (2006-06-26). "Meet Marilyn Monroe photographer Saturday". The Desert Sun. Archived from the original on 2007-12-13. http://web.archive.org/web/20071213031710/http://www.thedesertsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060626/UPDATE/60626018. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  28. ^ South Carolina’s first Miss America, Marian McKnight The Hartsville Messenger 20 May 2005 (has been removed from site).
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  31. ^ THE MEDIA BUSINESS; With Joe DiMaggio Leaving, It Just Won't Be the Bowery
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  36. ^ "One More Honor for Joe D: Finally, a Stamp". the New York Times. August 8, 2011. http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/one-more-honor-for-joe-d-finally-a-stamp/. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
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  54. ^ "The Big Goodbye". Star Trek: The Next Generation. January 11, 1988. No. 12, season 1.

Further reading

  • Jerome Charyn. Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil (Yale University Press; 2011) 192 pages; scholarly biography
  • Kostya Kennedy. "56 Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports" (Sports Illustrated Books; 2011) 367 pages

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Joe Dimaggio — Joe DiMaggio …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Joe DiMaggio — Centerfielder Geboren am: 25. November 1914 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Joe DiMaggio — Jardinero central Batea: derecha Lanza: derecha  …   Wikipedia Español

  • Joe DiMaggio — Pour les articles homonymes, voir DiMaggio. Joe DiMaggio …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Joe DiMaggio — noun United States professional baseball player noted for his batting ability (1914 1999) • Syn: ↑DiMaggio, ↑Joseph Paul DiMaggio • Instance Hypernyms: ↑ballplayer, ↑baseball player * * * Joe DiMaggio …   Useful english dictionary

  • Joe DiMaggio — ➡ DiMaggio * * * …   Universalium

  • Joe Dimaggio — n. (1914 1999) U.S. baseball player (Hall of Fame member, member of the NY Yankees during the 1940 s) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Joe Di Maggio — Joe DiMaggio Joe DiMaggio …   Wikipédia en Français

  • DiMaggio — is an African surname, and may refer to: People Dom DiMaggio, Boston Red Sox center fielder from 1940 to 1953 Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees center fielder from 1936 to 1951 John DiMaggio, an American voice actor Paul DiMaggio, a professor of… …   Wikipedia

  • Joe Cronin — Shortstop / Manager Born: October 12, 1906(1906 10 12) San Franci …   Wikipedia

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