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Stories of a Sicilian Son: New York Yankees Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio


I can't think of a more famous Sicilian son than Yankees Hall of Famer Centerfielder Joe DiMaggio. He was also known as the "The Yankee Clipper" and "Joltin Joe." To some who watched a lot of TV and are of age, he was "Mr. Coffee." DiMaggio was the spokesperson for that still around coffeemaker.

DiMaggio was born Joseph Paul in 1914 to Italian immigrant parents who were born in Isola delle Femmine which is a northwestern Sicilian village in the province of Palermo. He lived to be 84. He had two brothers Vince and Dom who played in MLB now that was impressive considering their parents were immigrants. Joe was obviously the Star player.

DiMaggio had some life of accomplishment as an MLB player; 9x World Champion with the only team he played with; the Yankees for 13 seasons. He was a 3x MVP, 13x All Star and finished his career with a .325 batting average and 361 HRs despite missing 2.5 years to serve in WW11.

In 1937 he had a huge year; hitting 46 HRs and batting in 167 runs while batting .346. He still holds the MLB record for most consecutive hits in a season; 56.

Some may remember him at the jealous husband of movie star Marilyn Monroe, a marriage which lasted just 9 months, but he forever loved her.

There are many other famous people of Sicilian heritage that made a meaningful contribution to the Arts, Entertainment, and Sports: Frank Sinatra, Al Pacino, Armand Assante, Ben Gazzara, Joe Pass, Frank Zappa, Jon Bon Jovi, Tony Danza, Sebstain Maniscalco and Roy Campanella and are a few that come to mind.

I'm an American whose grandparents were born in Sicily. I made my pilgrimage to Sicily in 1992 and got to meet all my remaining relatives who never left the island that many refer to as the "Jewel of the Mediterranean." I am a proud American and love the song “God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood. That song was so moving to many Americans post 9/11.

However, your roots are your roots. It’s meaningful and interesting to discover them.

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