Baseball History: Joe DiMaggio’s Hitting Streak

JoeDiMaggioGoudeycard1Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak in 1941 is legendary.

A few weeks before establishing the iconic major league mark, DiMaggio actually broke the record of 44 games set by Willie Keeler with the old Baltimore Orioles in 1897.

In a doubleheader at home on July 1, the New York Yankees superstar tied Keeler against the Boston Red Sox with hits in both contests. One day later he passed Keeler with a home run.

With New York leading 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning, DiMaggio took Boston pitcher Dick Newsome deep to left field for his only hit in the Yankees 8-4 victory.

Ted Williams, who was on his way to batting .406 that year, was playing left for the Red Sox. Dom DiMaggio, the younger brother of the history maker, was next to Williams in centerfield as he watched his sibling’s stroke into the annals of baseball.

It was the 13th of 15 homers during the streak for DiMaggio, who would finish the season with 30 long balls. He went on to earn his second American League Most Valuable Player Award by batting .357 with 125 RBI. He was also the MVP in 1939 and 1947.

Amazingly, the 56-game streak was not the best of DiMaggio’s career. In his first full season as a professional in 1933, the 18-year old hit safely in 61 straight contests with San Francisco in the Pacific Coast League. That summer he hit .340 with 28 homers.

A 13-time all-star, DiMaggio was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955 and was a member of nine world championship teams. He had 361 homers and 1,537 RBI with a .325 average in his career with the Yankees that spanned from 13 seasons from 1936-1942 and 1946-1951.