NAPA - Dario Lodigiani was born in North Beach, San Francisco, in 1916. Dario graduated Galileo High School as a five-letter athlete.
As a quarterback, he led his football team to its first championship over cross-town rival Washington High. After graduation he started playing semi-pro baseball and was quickly signed by the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League. After two seasons he was drafted by Connie Mack of the Philadelphia A’s. Two-and-a-half seasons later he was traded to the Chicago White Sox and played until his career was interrupted by World War II. Dario enlisted in the Army Air Corp and spent three years in a B-17 squadron in the South Pacific. After the war he returned to the White Sox and was leading the American League in hitting until a serious arm injury ended his season. After rehab Dario returned to the Pacific Coast League and again played for the Oaks under manager Casey Stengel. He helped them to a championship on the team nicknamed “The Nine Old Men,” which included players such as Billy Raimondi, Cookie Lavagetto, Ernie Lombardi, Mel Duezabou, and a young man named Billy Martin. After two seasons before being hired as a coach for Charlie Finley and the Kansas City A’s, he also coached for the Chicago White Sox before becoming a scout for the team. He was still employed with the Chicago White Sox until his passing on Feb. 10, 2008 in Napa. In 2006 Dario was inducted into the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame and joined his childhood friends Joe and Dominic DiMaggio. Dario is tied to the Bay Area’s rich baseball history and enshrined among its great players.
Dario was preceded in death by his wife Marie, parents Carlo and Antoinetta, brother Louis and sister Rita.
He is survived by his daughter, Diane, of Napa; granddaughter, Julie, of Napa and her father, Jon; brothers, Aldo of Petaluma, and Eddie (Florence) of Oroville; a nephew, Louis (Lola); nieces, Noreen, Linda (Andy) and Christine (Harry); the Arrigotti cousins and hundreds of really great friends.
Many heartfelt thanks to Dr. Marshall Cooperson for all of his care and friendship, along with Doctors John Bosetti, Nancy Jameson, Sergio Manubens, Dan Mirda, Dave Carlson, Frank Healy, Curtis Johnson, Corby Kessler, Tom Hildreth, Ali Vaziri and Steven Cardey. God bless the many, many angels of the Queen of the Valley Medical Center and the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox.
The rosary and vigil service will be held on Friday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m., at the Claffey and Rota Funeral Home, 1975 Main St., Napa. The funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 10 a.m., at St. Apollinaris Catholic Church, 3700 Lassen St., Napa.