Born in Boston, MA on April 4, 1938, Giamatti attended Yale University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in English in 1960. Giamatti went on to receive a Ph.D. from Yale in Comparative Literature in 1964.
After receiving his doctorate, Giamatti taught Italian and Comparative Literature at Princeton University. He returned to Yale in 1966 when he joined the faculty as an assistant professor of English. He became a full professor in 1971 at the age of 33 and served as the director of the Division of Humanities from 1975 - 78.
He became president of Yale in July, 1978, and served ten years. After leaving that position he joined Major League Baseball and was named the 12th president of the National League on December 11, 1986.
After being elected Commissioner, Giamatti created a deputy commissioner position and appointed Francis T. Vincent, Jr. to the post. Determined to maintain the integrity of the game during his commissionership, Giamatti entered into an agreement with Cincinnati manager and baseball's all-time hit leader Pete Rose that was tantamount to a lifetime suspension on August 23, 1989. The agreement came after a lengthy investigation and court battle regarding gambling by Rose.
On September 1, 1989, Giamatti died of a heart attack at his summer home in Martha's Vineyard, MA. Survivors include his wife, the former Toni Smith, whom he met at Yale and married in 1960; three children, Marcus Bartlett, Paul Edward Valentine and Elena Walton Giamatti, and a brother, Dino, of Scarboro, Me.more » « less