When it came to sibling rivalry, few can compare with the DiMaggio brothers. Three of the sons of Italian-American fisherman Giuseppe DiMaggio went on to play center field in the major leagues. Vince, the oldest, was the least successful ballplayer; born two years later, Joe went on to become arguably the greatest player of his generation; while youngest sibling Dominic toiled in the shadow of his older brother. But Dom was a fantastic baseball player too, an All-Star, a career .298 hitter, and one of the most popular players in the history of the Boston Red Sox.
Dubbed The Little Professor because of his spectacles, DiMaggio was a terrific center fielder, some who saw him play even claim he was superior to his brother Joe. There were no Gold Gloves in his era, but if there had been it would have given Boston fans one more thing to debate while comparing Dom with Joe of the Yankees. In 1949 Dom put together a 34-game hitting streak, the longest in Red Sox history. It placed him an Joe as the only brothers too each have streaks over 30 games in major league history.
In 1950, DiMaggio had his best season, leading the AL with 11 triples and 15 stolen bases while batting .328 with 70 RBI from the leadoff spot. For most of his career with the Sox, DiMaggio batted in the #1 slot ahead of Johnny Pesky, Ted Williams, Vern Stephens, and Bobby Doerr. He scored 100 runs or more in six of his 11 seasons, and for his career he averaged 121 runs per 162 games. DiMaggio walked more than he struck out and was one of the best baserunners of his era. He used that speed to track down flies in †center field – he led the AL in putouts twice, in range four times, and in assists three times. Though he was small – just 5’8 and 165 pounds, DiMaggio had a strong, accurate throwing arm.
Dom was named to the All-Star team seven times, and in 1946, his first season back to the diamond after missing three full seasons while serving in World War II, he was ninth in American League Most Valuable Player voting.
Joe and Dom’s Hitting Streaks
During his 34-game hitting streak in 1949, Dom batted .357 with 51 hits, 10 doubles, two triples, and three home runs. The leadoff hitter scored 35 runs during the streak. The streak started on June 29 and DiMaggio collected a hit in every game in July before the streak was snapped on August 8th. During the same time frame, brother Joe hit .338 in 37 games with 45 hits, seven doubles, two triples, and nine homers. Joe hit in 30 of the 37 games while little brother Dom went on his headline-grabbing streak in ’49. In contrast, in 1941 when Joe had his 56-game streak from may 15 to July 16, Dom batted .253 over the same stretch, going hitless in 19 of 60 games for the Red Sox. It was just Dom’s second season the big leagues.
Loved to Face: In 39 career at-bats against Randy Gumpert, Dom DiMaggio hit .487 (19 hits) with two homers. He also had great success against Fred Hutchinson (.469 on 15-for-32).
Hated to Face: Little righty Connie Marrero of the Senators held DiMaggio in check. Dom batted .171 (7-for-41, all singles) against Connie.
Longest Hitting Streaks by a Red Sox Player
1.†Dom DiMaggio†… 34 games (1949)
2.†Tris Speaker†… 30 games (1912)
3.†Nomar Garciaparra†… 30 games (1997)
4.†Johnny Damon†… †29 games (2005)
5.†Wade Boggs†… 28 games (1985)
6.†Dom DiMaggio†… 27 games (1951)
7.†Manny Ramirez†… 27 games (2006)
8.†Nomar Garciaparra†… 26 games (2003)
9.†Buck Freeman†… 26 games (1902)
10.†Johnny Pesky†… 26 games (1947)