FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox pitcher Chris Mazza was watching a special 20 years ago on New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio when his older brother let him in on a little secret.
“I was 9 years old, and we were watching ESPN Classic, and they were talking about the 56-game hitting streak, and all of the sudden, my brother goes ‘You know that’s our cousin, right?’ ” Mazza recalled. “And I was like ‘What do you mean?’ And he told me he was our grandmother’s cousin and then after that, I started learning more about Dom and Vince (Joe’s brothers, who both were big-league outfielders as well). I mean Dom played (with the Red Sox) for 14 years (1940-42, 1946-53), and I didn’t realize that. He had a really good career as well.”
Mazza said he met DiMaggio once at a family reunion when he was 6, back before he even knew who Joltin’ Joe was.
“Honestly, I don’t really remember it,” he said. “And I definitely didn’t understand who he was at the time.”
Mazza hails from the San Francisco area, where all three of the DiMaggio brothers began their professional careers with the San Francisco Seals in the Pacific Coast League. Mazza grew up in a…