The Record 45th Game of Joe Dimaggio's 56
July 2, 1941
On the first day of July 1941,
Joe DiMaggio tied the 43-year-old record of Wee Willie Keeler by
hitting safely in both games of a doubleheader against the Red Sox.
The Yankee Clipper had rapped out at least one hit in 44 straight
On July 2, the Yankees again faced the Red Sox. Joe DiMag was intent
on getting a hit in his 45th straight game and setting a new major
league record at Yankee Stadium.
Dom DiMaggio, Joe's bespectacled younger brother, was stationed in his
normal position for the Red Sox, centerfield. Joe had invited him to
dinner that evening at his home.
In his first at bat against Boston pitcher Herber Newsome, DiMaggio
smashed a long drive that was flagged down by Stan Spence. Joe Dee
swung a bit more forcefully his second time up and drove the ball to
center field. Breaking at top speed as soon as he heard the crack of
his older brother's bat against the ball, Dom ran it down and made a
dramatic catch to rob his brother of an extra base hit. The two
brothers rarely showed emotion on the baseball field, but looking at
each other this time from inside their Yankee and Red Sox uniforms,
they showed how they felt.
"It was a great catch," Joe recalled, "one of the best Dom had ever
made. I was tempted at that point to withdraw the dinner invitation
for the evening."
In his third turn at bat, with two teammates on bases, hungering for a
hit, Joe took no chances. He belted the ball into the seats for what
would be one of the 30 home runs he would hit that historic 1941
season. He had the record, and it had come against arch-rival Boston.
The New York Yankees centerfielder and the Boston centerfielder dined
that evening. "While Dom lapped up my steak and ate my spaghetti," Joe
mused, "he had the audacity to tell me, 'You know, Joe, I couldn't
have gone another inch for that ball.'"
# # #
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Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
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"Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE
STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to
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Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One.
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