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The DiMaggios: Three Brothers, Their Passion for Baseball, Their Pursuit of the American Dream Hardcover – May 14, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1St Edition edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006218377X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062183774
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Just a few years after the death of the last surviving brother, Dominic, at age 92, Clavin offers a collective biography of the best known of all sports siblings, with the emphasis, of course, on the iconic Joe (Giuseppe Junior). The story is a familiar one to baseball fans: sons of Italian immigrant parents and discouraged from sports as youngsters by their San Francisco fisherman father, the three brothers—Vince, Joe, and Dominic—all went on to Major League careers, in Joe’s case also to the Hall of Fame and celebrity well beyond the baseball diamond, notably Joe’s enduring love of Marilyn Monroe. Clavin’s treatment of their baseball lives is heavily statistical, almost encyclopedic (he’s gone through all the Yankee clippings), and, regrettably—like the brothers’ personalities (Vince possibly excepted)—it lacks panache. Oddly, the book is at its best in dealing with their later years: Vince’s personal struggles, Joe’s loneliness, Dom’s business success. Though often sad, the account achieves, toward the end of the story, its drama and real poignancy. The DiMaggios is, ultimately, the family story its title implies. --Mark Levine

From the Back Cover

The untold Great American Story of three brothers—Joltin' Joe, Dom, and Vince DiMaggio—and the Great American Game, baseball, that would consume their lives

More than 350 sets of brothers have played in the major leagues since the 1870s. But few have had the skill, the charisma, or the success of the DiMaggio brothers. Joe DiMaggio, "The Yankee Clipper," is an American icon and one of the greatest athletes of the twentieth century. Even his chief rival, Ted Williams, called him the greatest all-around player he ever saw.

But two of Joe's brothers, also center fielders, were dynamic players in their own right. Dominic, affectionately known as "The Little Professor," was a seven-time All-Star who played for the Boston Red Sox from 1940 through 1953. He hit better than .300 five times in his career, finished with a .298 average, and like his big brother, rarely struck out. And Vince DiMaggio, the eldest, made two All-Star teams and in 1941 smacked 21 home runs and drove in 100 RBIs while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In The DiMaggios, journalist Tom Clavin draws on a wealth of source materials, interviews with family members and teammates, and in-depth reporting to reveal how three kids from an immigrant family of eleven found their way to the upper echelons of American sports and popular culture. A vivid portrait of a family and the ways in which their shifting fortunes and status shaped their relationships, it is also a transporting exploration of an era and a culture, using baseball as a lens to view and understand American society in the twentieth century.


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Customer Reviews

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Gives real insight into a man who was tortured at the core.
Nancy G. Scheaffer
Many thanks to Mr. Clavin for putting together an unbiased and well written book on the subject.
Guano
An easy read and would highly recommend to all fans of baseball.
RumO

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven J. Berke on May 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is of interest because it brings together the lives and careers of the DiMaggio brothers. It confirmed my earlier impression that while Joe was the better ballplayer Dom was by far the better human being (and was a pretty good ballplayer who might have made the Hall of Fame if not for Joe's shadow). It also was interesting to read Vince's story--a decent player stuck in the wrong family.

While Clavin writes and organizes his material well, it is clear he is relying on secondary sources rather than interviews or in-depth research. This does not match the depth and comprehensiveness of what has been written about Joe (especially Richard Ben Cramer's biography), but is as good as we are likely to get on Dom and Vince.
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Format: Hardcover
More than any other sport, baseball provides fans with a substantial family connection. The Boones --- Ray, son Bob, and grandsons Bret and Aaron --- have played in the major leagues and were the first family to send three generations of players to the All-Star game. Fathers and sons from the Griffeys to the McRaes to the Swishers are well-known. Brothers Paul and Lloyd Waner ("Big Poison" and "Little Poison") are both members of the Hall of Fame. Felipe, Matty and Jesus Alou formed an outfield of brothers, and Felipe's son Moises played for 17 seasons in the National League. THE DiMAGGIOS by Tom Clavin is a tribute to a baseball family whose middle son, Joe DiMaggio ("The Yankee Clipper"), is considered to be one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century.

Much has been written about DiMaggio, and Clavin credits many of the authors who chronicled the life of the player who insisted that he be introduced at old-timer's games as "the greatest living ballplayer." It was in Boston in 1986 that Dominic, Vince and Joe DiMaggio appeared together at such an event for the first and only time. For years there had been strains in the relationship, and neither Dom nor Joe was aware that Vince was suffering from stomach cancer. He would live less than five months after this final reunion. While Vince and Dom kept in contact, their relationship with their middle brother was difficult. Dom's baseball career was with the Boston Red Sox, and he played alongside Ted Williams, who battled with DiMaggio for the title of greatest player of their era. Williams and DiMaggio also had a strained relationship, fueled to some degree by the fact that Williams was more of a mentor to Dom than his own brother.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RFXD on May 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Who knew that aside from King Joe the DiMaggio family produced such interesting, passionate, and talented siblings. I didn't. Thanks to Tom Clavin, I do now. Clavin has plumbed the depths of this brotherly trifecta to bring to life both Vince and Dom, until now overshaded by their brother's long shadow. The writing jumps off the page like one of their line drives, and I highly recomend this first-of-its-kind biography. Kudos.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marte on June 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I truly enjoyed this book. I'm not a big baseball fan. We have all heard about JOE DiMaggio but this told about the whole DiMaggio family. In particular, Dom and Vince, also baseball players and outstanding in their own rights but could never achieve the stardom as Joe did. I liked learning about their childhood, their baseball years, and their lives after baseball. For me, it was a page turner, and I read it in two days. My husband did the same thing. I read it on my Kindle and he read the hardcover. Then we bought two more copies to give to friends who we knew would enjoy the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Guano on June 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book brought me back to my childhood days at Yankee Stadium. I could hear the crack of the bat. Great insight into one of the greatest players that ever played the game. Many thanks to Mr. Clavin for putting together an unbiased and well written book on the subject. Good work. Well worth reading even just for some of the background stories of Joe and his brothers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Captain Phil on June 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is outside my normal range for leisure reading, and my bedside stack is already high, but this book was recommended so I put it on the top of the pile. Sure glad I did. It's very well written, and tells a powerful story of inter-family dynamics that is both surprising and poignant. Beyond the baseball, which is fascinating and entertaining, there is a much deeper almost "morality play" feel to this excellent book. Do not fail to tuck this book under your arm (or download it to your reader). You'll be very glad you did. Tom Clavin continues, with "The DiMaggios" a string of literary "hits." A home run for Tom!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. W. Terry Lindley on March 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a masterful biography of the DiMaggio brothers—Vincent, Joe, and Dominic—who played professional baseball from the early 1930s to their retirement from the game in the early 1950s. It is well written containing many stories and anecdotes from family, friends, and teammates. The brothers were different in both their athletic abilities as they were in temperament and life after baseball. All three brothers were exceptional centerfielders with strong arms, but they differed widely when it came to hitting.

Joe, by far the most famous of the three, was a very private person, yet he also sought recognition of his greatness. He relished being voted by the baseball writers in 1969 as the “greatest living” player. At old-timers games in New York, he was always the last one to be announced. He made money on being “Joe DiMaggio” after his playing days were over pitching products such as “Mr. Coffee” machines. His greatest tragedy was his involvement with Marilyn Monroe. He deeply loved her, but they were both too different to make marriage work. During his last decade, he lost many friends, some to death and others to ostracism. Joe was also consumed with making money; the booming sports memorabilia market in the 1980s was a bonanza for him.

Dominic, the author argues, was a better ballplayer than Joe from 1940 to 1952. If the war had not taken three prime years from his career on the diamond, he might have had a chance for the Hall of Fame. Of slight built, he was not a power hitter, but a scrapper who could steal bases and manufacture runs. He was a student of hitting, having a book on each pitcher in the American League. Dominic had a unique way of standing in centerfield; he faced toward the leftfield line instead of facing home plate.
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