The DiMaggio's: Three Brothers, Their Passion for Baseball, Their Pursuit of the American Dream
By Tom Clavin
But in "The DiMaggio's: Three Brothers, Their Passion for Baseball, Their Pursuit of the American Dream”, author Tom Clavin asks, 'Would Joe DiMaggio have ever made it to the major leagues without the help of his brother Vince?'
The baseball jury will always be out on that one. It can be argued that Vince's passion for baseball and Joe's reluctance to follow in the footsteps of his fisherman father led the Great DiMaggio in that direction, too.
Clavin writes that without Vince and without much education and ambition, Joe might have drifted into some kind of physical job that allowed free time to hang around with his friends. In reality it was the burgeoning Pacific Coast League and the San Francisco Seals that provided the three brothers with a baseball haven.
"My brother Vince started it all," remembered Dominic in Clavin's early details about the DiMaggio's. "He was two years older than Joe and started sneaking out to play baseball when he was junior high school age. My parents were from the old country, born and raised in a village in the suburbs of Palermo.
They didn't take too well to the American game of baseball, especially Dad."
Joe DiMaggio became an American icon and hero to the millions of Italian American's in the 1940s and 50's. Dominic, known as "The Little Professor," was a seven-time All-Star for the Red Sox. He hit better than .300 five times and was considered one of the finest defensive center fielders of his era.
Vince, the oldest, enjoyed a modest career. In 1941 he smacked 21 home runs and drove in 100 runs for the Pirates. However, his season was overshadowed by Joe's 56-game hitting streak – a record that still stands.
Even in retirement, Dom and Vince were in the background of Joe's celebrated life. The two brothers enjoyed family life, while Joe shied away from it. Being married and then divorced from Marilyn Monroe contributed to Joe's quest for privacy which turned into aloofness.
Clavin reports an interview Vince, who was estranged from Joe for many years, conducted in the early 80's.
"Joe's always been a loner, and he always will be," he said. "When the folks were alive we were a lot closer. What can I do?
"I'm Vince and he's Joe. He's always had a living style higher than mine. It's only a shame that we have gone such different ways. Family should stick together."