Tha Sports Junkies 101

Joe DiMaggio Reaches Historic Mark of 56

Joe DiMaggio Beisbolsinaloa/ via Flickr



“The Streak”

75 years ago today, Joe DiMaggio would set the record for most consecutive games with a hit. DiMaggio still holds that record today. 


It’s been called the most unbreakable record in baseball.  The Historical run of New York Yankees Slugger, Joe DiMaggio would be just the distraction a nation on the verge of entering World War II would need.  It would captivate the nation and inspire writers, poets and baseball fans across the country.

As the Yankee Clipper stepped to the plate on May 15th, 1941, no one could have imagined that an RBI single in the first inning of a 13-1 loss to the visiting White Sox would mean anything at all.  The Yankees were reeling and the New York papers were reporting that the Yankees were on a non stop flight to the second division.  DiMaggio was also struggling to begin the 1941 season.  After leading the American league in batting in the 1939 and 1940 seasons he had started off with a dismal .194 average over the previous three weeks.

DiMaggio knew a thing or two about hitting streaks.  While playing in the Minor Leagues for the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast Leagues; DiMaggio would hit in 61 straight games to set the Minor League Record.  He would continue with his relentless hitting throughout the month of June as the Yankees began to hit their stride.  The nation really began to take notice on June 17th when DiMaggio beat the Yankee record by hitting in his 30th consecutive game.

After surpassing the Yankee hit record DiMaggio could set his sights on the next milestone; George Sislers American League record of 41 straight games.  On June 29th the streak was almost stopped by a thief that had stolen the lucky bat of “Joltin Joe.”  After just tying George Sislers record of 41 in the first game of a double-header DiMaggio went to the dugout only to find his bat missing.  He would struggle over the next three at bats before finally recording a hit in the bottom of the 7th inning to reach 42 and claim the record for the American League.

Just two days later DiMaggio would tie the record of 44 held by “Wee” Willie Keeler before a crowd of 55,000 people at Yankee Stadium.  On July 2nd in 100 degree heat Joe DiMaggio would claim the crown for himself as the all-time hit leader by hitting a home run over the left field fence to hit for his 45th consecutive game.

Now with all the pressure gone and the world watching DiMaggio would go on a terror.  On July 5th he would go 6-9 in a double-header.  The streak would take the nation by storm and even inspire a hit song by Alan Courtney and Ben Homer back in New York. The song was titled:

“Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio,” which featured the lyrics, “He started baseball’s famous streak / That’s got us all aglow / He’s just a man and not a freak / Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio.” The tune later became a hit for bandleader Les Brown and his orchestra.

On July 16th on the road versus the Cleveland Indians, DiMaggio would extend his hit streak to an amazing 56 straight games.  The next day the streak would come to an end on a sharp ground ball to shortstop Lou Boudreau who fielded it and turned a double play to end the streak at 56 games.

Joe DiMaggio would not only hit in 56 straight games, but he did so in a herculean effort.  His stats from May 15th to July 16th were that of story book fashion.  During its two-month span, he hit 15 home runs and went 91-for-223 at the plate for a batting average of .408. He also recorded 55 RBIs and scored 56 runs.

DiMaggio would help lead the Yankees to their 9th World Series championship, but the thing that will always be remembered the most from the ’41 season is “The Streak.”  Reporters would say at the time that this is an unbreakable record and to this point they are correct.  No player has really even came close over the past 75 years, with the closest being Pete Rose in 1978 who hit in 44 consecutive games for the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati.

Joe DiMaggio is one of those players that has cemented himself in baseball history as one of the greatest hitters of all time and will forever remain there.  The man we know as “The Yankee Clipper” or “Joltin Joe” would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955 along with a plaque to commemorate his historic hit streak.

Joltin Joe