Here's Who Inherited Joe DiMaggio's Money After He Died

Born Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio to Italian immigrants in 1914, Joe DiMaggio is considered by many to be one of the greatest baseball players that has ever lived (per Biography). His father was a fisherman who hoped his sons would join him on the water one day. However, Britannica writes that three sons, including the one called Joe, had other plans: They wanted to play ball. In 1930, Joe dropped out of high school to pursue his major league dreams. Soon after, Joe's older brother Vince was signed to the San Francisco Seals, a minor league team.

As fate would have it, as the Society for American Baseball Research reports, in 1932, the team needed a new shortstop. Vince convinced the manager of the San Francisco Seals to give the position to a then-teenaged Joe, who played in the last three games of the season and was given a contract. In 1933, Joe had a 61-game hitting streak (via the National Baseball Hall of Fame). It didn't take long for Joe to make it big. He was eventually sold to the Yankees and made his debut with the team in 1936. Known for his commitment to the game, Joe later stated that "A ball player has to be kept hungry to become a big leaguer."

Joe DiMaggio's Yankee career

According to Biography, Joe DiMaggio was a hit with the Yankees. In his first season, he had 29 home runs. Moreover, the Yankees won four consecutive World Series Championships during his first four seasons. Eventually, the team also won 10 American League Championships (via Britannica). As the Society for American Baseball Research explains, DiMaggio could do it all, including throwing, running, fielding, and hitting. He broke numerous records and won his first of his three MVP awards in 1939. That same year, he married actress Dorothy Arnold. The pair had a son, Joe DiMaggio Jr., in 1941.

As DiMaggio's Yankee's successes increased, so did his fame. He earned the nicknames "the Yankee Clipper"(per the National Baseball Hall of Fame) and "Joltin' Joe." DiMaggio continued to win big but missed three seasons between 1943 and 1945 due to his military service — he enlisted — during World War II. After his return from service, DiMaggio and Arnold divorced and his baseball career slowed down, largely in part to an injury and his age. PBS reports that he retired from baseball and the Yankees in 1951 after 13 seasons. In 1955, he was inducted into the Baseball hall of Fame.

Joe DiMaggio's later years

Despite his retirement, DiMaggio continued to be a beloved figure in American culture (via Society for American Baseball Research). Per Biography, he was mentioned in Ernest Hemingway's novel "The Old Man and the Sea," and in 1954, he made headlines when he married actress Marilyn Monroe. History writes that the union was ill-fated and they divorced months after their wedding. Nonetheless, they remained friends until Monroe's untimely death in 1962. DiMaggio never married again and spent some time out of the limelight until the 1970s, when he became a spokesperson for a variety of products, including "Mr. Coffee" coffeemakers (as seen on YouTube).

According to Britannica, he also became involved in charity work. DiMaggio made public appearances but kept his personal life private. Besides his incredible baseball skills, he was known for his humility and elegance, qualities that were admired by his fans. By 1998, DiMaggio was living in Hollywood, Florida, and battling lung cancer.

Joe DiMaggio died from the disease on March 8, 1999 at the age of 84. PBS reports that his funeral was held in his hometown of San Francisco and he was buried in nearby Colma, California. DiMaggio left behind numerous family members, including his son, Joe DiMaggio Jr. At the time of his death, it's believed he was worth $50 million (per Celebrity Net Worth).

Joe DiMaggio had a strained relationship with his only child

In his last will and testament. DiMaggio bequeathed his only child, son Joe DiMaggio Jr., a yearly trust fund of $20,000. This came to a surprise to many, as the father and son reportedly had a tense relationship. According to PBS, DiMaggio Jr. attended his father's funeral despite their years-long estrangement. Although it is unclear why they had a falling out, several attributed it to DiMaggio's absence from his son's life. Joe Sr. preferred to focus on his career, and his first wife, Dorothy Arnold (above), divorced him for that reason.

The Seattle Times writes that by the 1960s, DiMaggio Jr. had little contact with his father. He later married a woman who had two children, Katherine and Paula. Despite their being no biological relation, Joe Sr. saw them as his grandchildren; they were with him when he died. As for DiMaggio Jr., AP News writes that he was living in a trailer in Northern California at the time of his father's death. Joe Jr. stated that, "My lifestyle is diametrically opposed to my father's." Sadly, he barely got to spend any of his inheritance. Per CBS News, Joe DiMaggio Jr. died shortly after his father, on August 7, 1999, at the age of 57.

Joe DiMaggio left the majority of his estate to his grandchildren

AP News reports that Joe DiMaggio Sr. left the smallest gift in his will to his son. The rest of his fortune went to numerous family members, including his grandchildren, great grandchildren, and his nephew. According to his last will and testament (posted at the Living Trust Network), which was signed in May, 1996, his brother's son, Joseph DiMaggio, received $100,000 upfront. His grandchildren, Katherine and Paula DiMaggio, both received trusts with an unspecified amount. Per DiMaggio's instructions, Katherine was willed 15% of his residuary estate and Paula 40% after the liquidation of his company, Yankee Clipper Enterprises.

Additionally, Paula received numerous items, including DiMaggio's furniture, jewelry, cars, and more. His great-grandchildren, Kendahl R. Stein and Mitchell J. Stein, received trusts with $250,000 each. His other great-grandchildren, Valerie F. Hamra and Vanessa S. Hamra, were bequeathed a $500,000 trust fund. In total, PBS writes that his grandchildren received $1.5 million. Although his brother Dominic was with him when he died (via The Seattle Times) and later gave the eulogy at Joe Sr.'s funeral, he is not mentioned in the will.

His granddaughters later auctioned off several of his items

In May 2006, Katherine and Paula announced that they were selling several of Joe DiMaggio's personal items and donating some of the proceeds to the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Florida (via SFGATE). They also revealed that they never had a good relationship with their adoptive father, DiMaggio Jr. They did, however, praise their grandfather. Katherine stated, "Joe Jr. didn't have his act together. That's the way it was. (Joe Sr.) had more hands-on with our schooling. He brought us something if we had good report cards and yelled at us when we didn't have good manners."

According to CBS News, the Yankees uniform that Joe Sr. wore at his last game was up for auction. Moreover, items pertaining to his short-lived marriage with Monroe, including their marriage license, love letters, her passport, and more, were also for sale. UPI reports that DiMaggio's diaries, written between 1982 and 1992, were primed to sell for $1.5 million.

Other notable items that were auctioned off included assorted sports memorabilia. Per Sports Collector Digest, the auction ultimately earned his granddaughters and charity over $4.2 million. His granddaughter Paula stated that Joe Sr. kept everything, and although there had been attempts to establish a museum, he refused to give up any of his belongings while he was still alive.