Sunday, July 17, 2005

 

July 17th, 1941

Joe DiMaggio Goes Hitless

You may remember that I wrote about the start of his streak, waaaay back in May during my "Brief Phase" when I was moving. I'm writing about it here because I think it gives a sense of the length of DiMaggio's streak, not just in terms of the games which everyone knows, but also just in the passage of time. Every day from that one in May to this one in July 1941 DiMaggio either got a hit or the Yankees didn't play. It’s fairly remarkable.

Speaking of remarkable, a remarkable coincidence took place on that July 17th, as related by Bill James. The U.S. Army was conducting a draft in
New York City, and in those days, each number selected was linked directly to a particular person. The second pick that day was a young man named...Joe DiMaggio. Not the same Joe DiMaggio, but that didn't stop the media who as James puts it, "just loves that kind of thing." The draftee Joe DiMaggio was apparently happy with the media coverage but "felt awful bad Joe's streak had come to an end."

One last bit on DiMaggio's streak. It is widely reported that Joe missed out on a $10,000 dollar endorsement (that was a good bit of money in those days) as he streak stopped short of 57, the magic number for Heinz and their "57 Varieties" brand line. The story is well known and whether it’s true or not may be difficult to say, but it's worth nothing that DiMaggio later claimed it was nothing but bunk.




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