The DiMaggios: Three Brothers, Their Passion for Baseball, Their Pursuit of the American Dream

While Tom Clavin's The DiMaggios would be any baseball lover's dream, it transcends mere fan adulation. It is a touching, penetrating look at the dynamics of family, a vivid evocation of a vanished time and a study of the corrosive effects of fame on the overly proud Joe DiMaggio.

While Dom and Vince DiMaggio never measured up to the lofty achievements of Joe, both brothers were talented big leaguers in their own right. Dom was a borderline Hall of Famer for the Red Sox, one of the most graceful and beloved center fielders ever to play in Fenway Park. Vince, the eldest, was the first to try his hand at baseball, partly for his love and aptitude for the game, but also to escape the backbreaking labor of their father's fishing trade.

Clavin excels at portraying the generational tension between hardworking Giuseppe DiMaggio, an Italian immigrant plying his trade off Fisherman's Wharf, and his sons' seemingly lazy pursuit of making it in America through a "boy's game." Even more pointed is his depiction of Joe's increasing estrangement and isolation from his brothers as his fame swells. Throughout The DiMaggios, Dom emerges as the bigger man, the one who constantly brokers family feuds sparked by the proud and isolated Joe.

Clavin's effort in The DiMaggios is comparable to great baseball writers like David Halberstam, but it is also spot on in its depiction on the price of the American Dream and its attendant joys and sorrows. --Donald Powell, freelance writer

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