Rosalie lived in the North Beach section of
San Francisco and raised nine children. Three of the five
boys became big league ball players. The last one, Dominic
Paul DiMaggio, passed away a couple of days ago at the age
I was probably the last one to interview
him. He is my 130th voice for the opus I am working on - -
REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY ,
slated for 2010 publication.
The man they dubbed the "Little Professor" because of his
spectacles and 5-foot-9, 168-pound frame was a hell of a
ballplayer even though he played in the gigantic shadows of
Ted Williams and brother Joseph. He hit in 34 straight games
in 1949, a streak snapped when big brother Joe snared a
sinking line drive in a 6-3 Red Sox win over the Yankees.
I reached Dominci Paul DiMagggio on the phone
not too long after he passed his 92nd birthday.
"How much time do you need?" he asked.
"Too much. How about five minutes"
We settled on 20 minutes, and I was told to talk louder
throughout. What follows are some of the more moving and
interesting aspects of the oral history that should make
their way into the book. The words reveal a confident and
intelligent man, who had a little tartness to him.
DOM DIMAGGIO: The first time I walked into Fenway Park was
April 1940 before the season started, and there was ice on
the field. It was a bit of a shock for me having been in
California all my life. I was wondering how we were going
to start on time. I do believe we did.
The weather wasn't that bad. But there were
cold days. I loved Fenway Park because it was cozy. Playing
baseball there was a pleasure and a joy. It was close to the
public and the whole thing was a perfect picture in my mind.
The atmosphere was increased when the Red Sox
and Yankees played and you could feel that and so I enjoyed
playing against New York.
In 1941, when my brother Joe had the hitting
streak going, Ted would be talking to the guy in the
scoreboard and the guy would keep him posted when Joe got a
hit. You couldn't do that at any other park.
There were times at Fenway when Joe would be
coming in from centerfield and I would be coming out. I
said very little to him on those occasions. What the hell
was I going to do, stop in centerfield and have a
Sam Mele wasn't a bad outfielder. Ted
Williams wasn't a bad outfielder either especially at Fenway
Park - he played that wall nicely.
I enjoyed a challenge and Fenway Park did
offer a challenge because of its structure and that was
something but other than that it was a pleasure to play in.
Having played there so often for so many years and so many
games I felt I mastered the ballpark and got along
beautifully with the fences. They didn't hurt me and I
didn't hurt them.
I did not shoot for the Green Monster. No.
I was an all-around hitter, a line-drive hitter, a damn good
one too. I loved to hit in Fenway.