56-game hitting streak in 1941 remains one of baseball's most
cherished records. As a young player he teamed with Lou Gehrig
to lead some of the best Yankee teams ever. As an older player
he formed a powerful lineup with Johnny Mize and Yogi Berra. When
he retired, young star Mickey Mantle arrived to fill his shoes.
Baseball fans soon realized that no one would ever accomplish
to many eye witnesses, DiMaggio was the best all-around player
of his time. He could hit, hit for power, throw, field, and run.
He bridged the Gehrig era to the Mantle era. He was a winner:
playing on ten pennant winners and failing to win the World Series
just once in those ten tries.
when he could have played a few more years and won some more titles.
But that wasn't his style. He moved aside to make way for Mickey
Mantle. Joe DiMaggio lived the life of an American Hero. In an
amazing life as an American icon, DiMaggio married Hollywood star
Marilyn Monroe, becoming the envy of every American male. Even
after they split, DiMaggio remained in the spotlight as a spokesman
for several products, including the Mr. Coffee maker.
from a baseball family, his two brothers also were major leaguers.
Dominic was the better of the two siblings, starring with the
Red Sox, earning All-Star status and Hall of Fame support from
teammate Ted Williams. Vince was best known for his defense and
the long swing which led to him lead the league in strikeouts
six times in his ten year career.
battled the Yankees over his salary and was once almost traded
straight up for Williams, in what would have been the biggest
deal in baseball history. The Yankees benefited from his leadership,
as DiMaggio helped break in Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra, and Mickey
In 1969, as
Major League Baseball celebrated the 100th anniversary of professional
baseball, DiMaggio was voted the "Greatest Living Player."
As the 1939 season drew to a close, 24-year old Joe DiMaggio was
on the brink of baseball history.
there were about three weeks to go in the season and I had a plus-.400
batting average," Joe recalled in 1963. "I figured I
was odds-on to finish the year with a .400 mark. I remember Joe
McCarthy calling me into his office and telling me he didn't think
I wanted to be a cheese champion so he was going to play me every
day, even though the pennant was about clinched."
but a few days later I got this terrible pain over my right eye.
I didn't tell anyone, and I went to a doctor who gave me Novocain
shots over the eye to kill the pain. I was taking a terrible chance,
but I never thought of the consequences. All I wanted to do was
stay in the lineup and hit .400. I didn't make it though."
the season at .381, winning his first batting title and Most Valuable
Debut: May 3, 1936; Dimaggio's debut was delayed by his contract
His record 56-game hitting streak has stood for more than 60 years.
#9 (1936), #5 (1937-1942, 1946-1951)
"Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper."
New York Yankees (1936-1942, 1946-1951)
1936 World Series, 1937 World Series, 1938 World Series, 1939
World Series, 1941 World Series, 1942 World Series, 1947 World
Series, 1949 World Series, 1950 World Series, 1951 World Series
Yes, nine times.
1947 World Series Game Seven, 1949 Regular Season
All-Star (13): 1936-1942, 1946-1951; American League MVP 1939,
1941 and 1947; voted Greatest Living Player in a 1969 Major League
Baseball fans poll.
Though Ted Williams great '41 season denied DiMaggio a batting
or slugging title, Joltin' Joe had a monster year. He slugged
.643 with a .440 OBP (1.083 OPS). He led the league with 125 RBI,
and hit 30 homers and 43 doubles. He also scored 122 runs, collected
193 hits, and smashed 11 triples. Amazingly, he struck out just
13 times! He had 76 walks, and did all of this while playing his
usual fantastic center field. Oh yes...and he also posted his
56-game hitting streak and led the Yankees to a World Series title.
56 games (1941); DiMaggio's streak was stopped by Cleveland pitcher
Jim Bagby Jr., son of former big league pitcher Jim Bagby. In
the minor leagues, DiMaggio had a 610game hitting streak stopped
by Ed Walsh Jr., son of Hall of Fame right-hander Ed Walsh.
and the MVP Award
DiMaggio won two controversial MVP awards over Ted Williams: in
1941 (by 37 votes, despite Williams' .406 average); and in 1947,
(by a single vote). Twice he finished second, once in a very close
vote. In 1937 he lost the honor to Detroit's Charlie Gehringer
by four votes.
November 25, 1914: Born in Martinez, California, the eighth of
nine children of Sicilian immigrants. Two brothers also became
major leaguers: Dom with the Boston Red Sox and Vince with the
Major league debut with New York Yankees.
Marries actress Dorothy Arnold. Their marriage produces a son,
Joe III, but ends in divorce in 1944.
and 1947: Selected as American League's Most Valuable Player.
1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951: Plays in the World
Series. Yankees win all but 1942.
Wins American League batting championship.
May 15 to
July 17, 1941: 56-game hitting streak shatters record of 44 held
by Willie Keeler, that had stood for more than 40 years.
Enlists in the Army, spends rest of war serving in physical training
program for Air Force cadets.
1951: Announces retirement as a player after 13 seasons. "I
feel that I have reached the stage where I can no longer produce
for my ball club, my manager, my teammates and my fans the sort
of baseball their loyalty to me deserves."
1954: Marries Marilyn Monroe at San Francisco City Hall.
Monroe divorces him.
to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his third year of eligibility.
(No player between 1937 and 1961 was named in his first year of
1962: Monroe dies. DiMaggio sends roses to her grave for years.
greatest living baseball player.
Member of board of directors, Oakland A's.
Member of board of directors, Baltimore Orioles