Described by his older and more famous brother, Joe, as “the best defensive outfielder I’ve ever seen.”
“I was determined to become a big leaguer to disprove all those cracks that I was being given my start just because of my brothers.” – Dom DiMaggio
He played in the AL as center fielder for his entire 11-year baseball career with the Boston Red Sox (1940–1953). An effective leadoff hitter, he led the American League in runs twice and in triples and stolen bases once each. He also led the AL in assists three times and in putouts and double plays twice each; he tied a league record by recording 400 putouts four times, and his 1948 totals of 503 putouts and 526 total chances stood as AL records for nearly thirty years. His 34-game hitting streak in 1949 remains a Boston club record.
He was the youngest of three brothers who each became major league center fielders: Joe and Vince played for five National League teams. Dom DiMaggio was the youngest of nine children born to Sicilian immigrants. Due to DiMaggio’s small stature (5’9″) and eyeglasses, he was known affectionately as “The Little Professor.”
After breaking into the minor leagues in 1937 with the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, Dom DiMaggio’s contract was purchased by the Red Sox following a 1939 season. He scored over 100 runs (1941, 1942) to finish third in the AL, and was among the league’s top ten players in doubles and steals; he was named an All-Star both years. After missing three years serving in the Navy in World War II, he returned in 1946 as Boston won its first pennant in 28 years. After a disappointing 1947, DiMaggio came back in 1948 to score 127 runs (second in the AL) with career highs in doubles, runs batted in and walks. In 1949 DiMaggio batted .307 with 126 runs, and had his team-record 34-game hitting streak; ironically, the streak was ended on August 9 by an outstanding catch made by his brother Joe. That year he made 400 putouts for the fourth time, tying the AL record at the time.
DiMaggio led the AL in runs, triples and stolen bases in 1950 while hitting a career-high. Once again, according to successessay, he led the league in runs in 1951. He retired in May 1953, and was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1978 and into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1995.