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Sunday, December 07, 2008

DiMaggio from NorCal

Following up on an exchange that came up at brunch w Arun, that arose out of the SF Seals T-shirt I'm wearing today, I claimed that the DiMaggio brothers came out of SF and came up playing for the Seals.

Turns out I was almost right; according to the current version of the Wikipedia entry (, Joltin' Joe
DiMaggio was born in Martinez, CA, which is in the SF Bay Area (specifically, "Martinez is located on the south side of the Carquinez Strait in the San Francisco Bay Area, directly facing the city of Benicia",_California)

The first few paragraphs of the Wikipedia entry for Joe Dimaggio are included below:

DiMaggio was the eighth of nine children born to immigrants Giuseppe (1872–1949) and Rosalia (Mercurio) DiMaggio (1878–1951), delivered by a midwife identified on his birth certificate as Mrs. J. Pico. He was named after his father; "Paolo" was in honor of Giuseppe's favorite saint, Saint Paul. The family moved to San Francisco, California when Joe was one year old.

Giuseppe was a fisherman, as were generations of DiMaggios before him. Joe's brother, Tom, told Joe's biographer Maury Allen that Rosalia's father, also a fisherman, wrote to her that Giuseppe could earn a better living in California than in their native Isola delle Femmine, an islet off the coast of Sicily. After being processed on Ellis Island, he worked his way across the country, eventually settling near Rosalia's father in Pittsburgh, California. After four years, he was able to earn enough money to send for her and their daughter, whom was born after he had left for the United States.

It was Giuseppe's hope that his five sons would become fisherman. Joe recalled that he would do anything to get out of cleaning his father's boat, as the smell of dead fish made him nauseous. Giuseppe called him "lazy" and "good for nothing." told Giuseppe's opposition was due to not understanding how baseball could help Joe "get away from the poverty" and make something of himself.

Joe was playing semi-pro ball when Vince, playing for the San Francisco Seals, talked his manager into letting Joe fill in at shortstop; he made his professional debut on October 1, 1932. From May 27 – July 25, 1933, he got at least one hit in a PCL-record 61 consecutive games: "Baseball didn't really get into my blood until I knocked off that hitting streak. Getting a daily hit became more important to me than eating, drinking or sleeping."

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