Boston Red Sox top 25-man roster in franchise history

8 of 26

Center Field

View image |

Dom DiMaggio

Career Stats: .298/.383/.419, 87 HR, 618 RBI, 100 SB, 34.6 WAR
With Red Sox: Played entire career in Boston

A star who excelled on both sides of the ball for the Boston Red Sox over parts of eleven seasons, Dom “The Little Professor” DiMaggio was the youngest of the three DiMaggio brothers who played center field in the majors (Joe, Vince). While overshadowed by his power-hitting brother Joe in the American League, Dom was a superior center fielder. In 1948, DiMaggio recorded 503 putouts in the outfield, which was the American League record until 1977, still standing as the third most in the history of the league.

The Red Sox only appearance in the World Series between 1918 and 1967, was in 1946 against the St. Louis Cardinals. In Game 7, DiMaggio tied the game with a double but an injured hamstring on the play knocked him out of the game. Enos Slaughter‘s “mad dash” from first to score the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth would not have happened according to Slaughter himself, who said he never would have tried it if DiMaggio had been in center field on the play. In addition to the close call in 1946, DiMaggio started for Red Sox clubs that lost in a playoff for the AL pennant in 1948 and lost the last two games of 1949 when winning one would have put them in the World Series.

DiMaggio was no slouch offensively. He lead the league in runs twice and stolen bases once (albeit with just 15). For his career DiMaggio was a .298 hitter, with a high water mark of .328 for a 1950 Red Sox team that scored 1027 runs. Seven times DiMaggio appeared in the All-Star game, and six times received MVP votes, in just ten seasons as a full-time player between 1940 and 1953. Like numerous players, DiMaggio lost three years in the prime of his career to military service.

In 2003, DiMaggio was part of the Red Sox version of the “Core Four”, immortalized in David Halberstam’s book The Teammates which chronicles the 60-year friendship between DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr.

DiMaggio was on hand for the raising of the 2004 World Championship banner on Opening Day of 2005 with his pals Pesky and Doerr. One important point that New England Patriots fans will enjoy is that DiMaggio was one of the original investors in the American Football League’s Boston Patriots who are now known as the New England Patriots.

Next: Right Field