- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Ecco; 1st Edition edition (May 14, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006218377X
- ISBN-13: 978-0062183774
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 61 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,213,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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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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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.
Me? I will always remain a Joe fan. As an 18 year-old I met my hero and was speechless. My cousin who was 8 years my senior was also in awe when he merely walked past his table. So I bristle at a suggestion that Joe, during his prime baseball years, was not the ultimate center fielder in baseball. That he was also much maligned about his self-interest during his life overlooks the efforts made by the Yankee front office to manipulate his salary and the envious rooters of rival teams to force him into military service ((although his exemption appears to have been permissible at the time. We're it not we would have heard so throughout history).