Open Mic: Joe DiMaggio's 56-Game Hit Streak Is One Record That Will Go Untouched

Michael HicksSenior Analyst IJune 12, 2008

Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak is one record that will never be broken.

In one magical season in 1941, "The Yankee Clipper" hit safely in 56 straight games.  It is his greatest accomplishment in a Hall of Fame Career.

DiMaggio was a three-time MVP winner and 13-time All-Star, and he led the Yankees to nine titles in 13 years.

Touted by sportswriters as Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Shoeless Joe Jackson rolled into one, he made his major league debut on May 3, 1936.

In his first season he hit .323 with 29 Home Runs and 125 RBI.

The next season he won the American League MVP, and the Yankees won their second straight World Series.


The Streak Begins

On May 15, in a game against the Chicago White Sox, DiMaggio went one-for-four.  He would get two more hits the next day.

When he surpassed twenty straight games with a hit on June 3 in a game against Detroit, the media and fans took notice.

Newspaper ran a daily column about the streak.  The Les Brown Orchestra even wrote a song about the streak, "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio." 

On June 17 he reached thirty straight games, then on July 5 DiMaggio broke the 45-game hit streak record set by Wee Willie Keeler in 1894.  He now was alone at the top of the record books.

Joe would pass fifty and many believed the streak would go on forever.


The streak Ends

On July 17, 1941, in a game against the Cleveland Indians, pitcher Al Smith held "Joltin" Joe hitless.

The streak was over at 56 games.  DiMaggio hit .408 during his streak, with 15 home runs and 55 RBIs.

The day after the streak ended, DiMaggio started another hitting streak that lasted 17 games.

At the time of his retirement at age 36, he had the fifth-most career home runs (361) and sixth-highest slugging percentage (.579) in history.

Only Cincinnat's Pete Rose (44 games in 1978) and the Brewers' Paul Molitor (39 games in 1987) have come close to breaking the record.

The 56-Game Hit Streak is one record that will stand the test of time in baseball lore.