A fine biography of the greatest brother combination ever to play major league baseball.
Vincent, Joe and Dominic DiMaggio lived out the American dream. Three brothers of 11 children born to Italian immigrants, the three boys excelled first in the Pacific Coast League for the local San Francisco Seals and then, one-by-one, they rose to play in the major leagues. Vince, the eldest of the three, broke his father’s prohibition against wasting time with games and thus paved the way for his brothers. Joe, the middle of the three, was the legend who married movie stars but was also cold and distant. Dominic, the bespectacled youngest and smallest of the trio, was a star in his own right but lived in the shadow of Joe. The journeyman Vince had the most trouble adjusting to post-baseball life and struggled just to make ends meet. Joe continued to be reticent and reserved, never recovering from his star-crossed marriage to Marilyn Monroe, and effectively made a career out of being Joe DiMaggio, legend. Dominick meanwhile, had the most grounded and, in many ways, successful post-baseball career, using his intellect to become a successful businessman. A fourth West Coast native, Ted Williams, plays almost as much of a role in the book as the brothers DiMaggio. He and teammate Dominic continued to be close for the remainder of their lives, with Williams always maintaining that Dominic belonged in the Hall of Fame. Clavin clearly agrees, and it is a strength of this evocative book that while Joe remains the legend, Dominic comes across as the most admirable DiMaggio in the end.
Simon and Garfunkel famously asked, “Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?” Clavin reminds readers that Joe is not the only DiMaggio worth remembering.