20 fun facts about Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak

Determined fans of New York Yankees' Joe DiMaggio

Determined fans of New York Yankees' Joe DiMaggio crowd their hero for autographs at Game 3 of the World Series at the Polo Grounds. The Yankees beat the New York Giants 5-1 to extend their lead in the Series to 3-0. DiMaggio, in his second year with the Yankees, had a respectable Series, batting .273 with one home run and four RBIs. (Oct. 8, 1937) (Credit: AP)

Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, the longest in baseball history, ended 70 years Sunday (July 17, 1941). Here are 20 fun facts about the streak.
 

1. Alan Courtney and Ben Horner wrote the song, "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio" that became a big hit for the Les Brown Orchestra, but the record wasn't released until 1942.

2. DiMaggio confided to a teammate that failing to extend the streak for one more game cost him the $10,000 promised to him by the Heinz Corporation to endorse their Heinz 57 products.

3. DiMaggio hit .408 during the streak (91-for-223), with 15 home runs and 55 RBIs.

4. DiMaggio was voted the American League MVP that season over Boston's Ted Williams who hit .406 -- the last time a major-leaguer hit over .400.

5. The longest hitting streak since DiMaggio established the record was 44 games by the Reds' Pete Rose in 1978.

6. The streak was interrupted by the 1941 All-Star Game at Briggs Stadium in Detroit. DiMaggio was 1-for-4 against the National League.

7. He homered for his only hit vs. Boston on July 2 -- the day Lou Gehrig died.

8. DiMaggio never bunted for a hit during the streak.

9. The St. Louis Browns gave up the most hits -- 22 in 12 games.

10. Indians reliever Joe Krakauskas, a native of Quebec, was the last pitcher to yield a hit to DiMaggio during the streak.

11. DiMaggio had a 61-game hit streak with the San Francisco Seals (Pacific Coast League) in 1933, second-longest in minor-league history to Joe Wilhoit (69 games, 1919).

12. The streak almost ended at 35. On June 24 against St. Louis, DiMaggio was hitless when he batted in the seventh inning, and Browns manager Luke Sewell ordered Bob Muncrief to "walk him!" Muncrief refused, Sewell relented and DiMaggio linded a single.

13. During the streak, he faced four future Hall of Fame pitchers -- Lefty Grove, Hal Newhouser (twice), Bob Feller and Ted Lyons.

14. Who gets credit for the nickname "The Yankee Clipper"? According to DiMaggio's official website, Yankee Stadium announcer Arch McDonald came up with the moniker for the "gracefulness of his play in the field."

15. When the streak began on May 15, the Yanks were 14-14, 5 1/2 games behind Cleveland in fourth place. After Game No. 56 of the streak, the Yankees were 55-27 and first place with a 6-game lead over Cleveland.

16. After extending the streak to 56 on July 16, DiMaggio led the American League in runs (80), hits (124) and RBIs (76), was tied for the lead in HR (20) and was second to Ted Williams in batting (.395 to .375).

17. St. Louis Browns teammates Bob Harris and Elden Auker each gave up five hits during the streak.

18. Although he failed to get a hit in Game 57, DiMaggio did walk to reach base in a streak that would extend to 74 consecutive games (second all-time to Ted Williams mark of 84 games in 1949).

19. DiMaggio got hits in both games of a twinbill May 30 vs. Boston (Games 15 and 16), but he also committed four errors.

20. DiMaggio got two hits off Cleveland's Bob Feller on June 2. The next day The New York Times reported: "DiMaggio, incidentally, has hit safely in nineteen straight games'' -- believed to be the first printed reference to the streak.

Listen to "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio" below.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Baseball videos

advertisement | advertise on newsday