Family: DiMaggio was watching his beloved Sox when he died

By Bryan Marquard, Globe Staff

Though ill with pneumonia, Dom DiMaggio was doing something he loved — watching the Red Sox play, and play well — when he died this morning in his Marion home.

Son by his side, the former Red Sox center fielder was watching the replay of Thursday night’s game, when his team scored 12 runs in the sixth inning en route to a 13-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

“I was there and we were watching it together,” said his son Dominic Paul DiMaggio Jr. of Atkinson, N.H. “It was peaceful.”

Mr. DiMaggio’s children, gathered at their parents’ home today, shared recollections of the family man who was as powerful a presence while helping his wife, Emily, raise their family in Wellesley as he was at bat and in the field for the Red Sox.

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“As I was telling a friend of mine, in the course of civilization, he was in the 90th percentile,” his son said.

Emily Colette DiMaggio of Wayland said her father “was such a great teacher of how to live a life, and to love and pass it on. He created a loving family and just gave us so much. We were just lucky.”

She recalled that in Wellesley, neighborhood children flocked to the DiMaggio house because there always was extra equipment for games. One day when the children couldn’t find a ball, she said, they went into Mr. DiMaggio’s study and borrowed one covered with signatures — a pennant ball, perhaps.

Upon arriving home in the evening, Mr. DiMaggio spied the ball, now sporting grass stains and smudged names, and asked, “What is this?”

“We told him we used it for the neighborhood ballgame with the kids,” his daughter said. “We were waiting for the reaction, and he said, ‘So, did you win?’ That’s who he was, an incredible dad.”

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