Dom DiMaggio: Overshadowed on the Field but Not in Life
A man is born with it, and it follows him to the grave. It can be a curse or a blessing and is ultimately how he is remembered.
For Dominic Paul DiMaggio, his last name could've been a curse. Considering he was the younger brother of the great Joe DiMaggio and elected to go into the same line of work as the Yankee Clipper and play the same position.
Much like younger brothers Tommie Aaron or Brent and Keith Gretzky, who elected to follow their Hall of Fame older brothers into the same profession only to have forgettable careers, the younger DiMaggio, who passed away last week at the age of 92, was a success both on and off the field.
Despite being overshadowed by his iconic older brother, Dom was part of seven All-Star Games.
Simon and Garfunkel never wrote a song asking "Where have you gone, Dom DiMaggio," like they did Joe. Perhaps that was because DiMaggio's exploits on the field never translated well into the public eye.
Unlike Joe, who played for the New York Yankees, had record 56-game hitting streak in 1941 and even had a song recorded that coined the nickname "Joltin' Joe," Dom played his entire career in Boston with the Red Sox.
While Joe was the star of the Yankees and leading New York to World Series titles, Dom wasn't even the best player in his outfield.
When Dom made his debut with the Red Sox in 1940, Ted Williams, who had made his Red Sox debut a year earlier, was grabbing all the headlines. His .406 batting average in 1941 and MVP awards in '46 and '49, overshadowed the accomplishments of his teammate.
Dom, who batted leadoff and had a .301 average his rookies season, tallied 117 runs his sophomore year and 110 in '42.
Like his older brother and Williams, Dom's playing career was interrupted by World War II. Like the Hall of Famers, Dom served his country proudly, spending three years in the Navy.
After returning, Dom proved he had not forgotten how to play baseball, batting .316 in '46 and leading Boston to its first AL pennant since Babe Ruth was a Red Sox.
It was his only World Series appearance, and Dom nearly ended the infamous 'Curse of the Bambino" before it had time to grow into legend.
With two out in the eighth inning of Game 7, Dom doubled to score two runs and tie the game at 3-3. Unfortunately he pulled a hamstring and had to be taken out of the game.
In the ninth inning, St Louis' Harry Walker doubled to center field, scoring Enos Slaughter from first base. The Cardinals went on to win the Series, but Bostonians still believe had Dom not been taken out of the game, Walker's double would've been an out.
Dom would go on to play seven more years for the Red Sox and be named to four straight All-Star Games from 49-52.
Much like his older brother did in '41, Dom built a hit streak of his own in '49. The hitting streak grew to 34 games before it was ended when his brother made a great catch in Dom's final at-bat on Aug. 9. His 34-game hitting streak is still a Red Sox record.
Dom would lead the league in runs score the next two seasons and have a 27-game hitting streak.
After his playing career, there were no Mr. Coffee commercial and he was not tied to any famous Hollywood starlets like his big brother was to Marilyn Monroe.
Dom stayed in the New England area and became a businessman where he and his wife Emily raised their family. Emily and Dom were married for more than 60 years. She was at his side when he passed.
Here's to you Dom DiMaggio, a lonely Red Sox Nation turns its eyes to you.
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