Game 30: June 17, 1941
ABC News was still talking about it seven decades later. Sporting News columnists from time to time write about that “single” on June 17, 1941, at Yankee Stadium.
The Walrus, a Canadian publication stirred the pot eight years after Joe DiMaggio died in 1999. And Kostya Kennedy’s book 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports devotes a whole chapter to that ground ball: “Everybody Needs A Little Luck.”
So, about this hit extending The Streak to 30 straight—what’s so controversial?
DiMaggio was 0-for-3 when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning that Tuesday afternoon.
Chicago led 7-5.
The sparse crowd of 10,442 now held its collective breath. Would this be the end?
In what would be his final at-bat of the game, DiMaggio hit a grounder toward shortstop. Hall of Famer Luke Appling ranged to his left, glove down. Suddenly, the ball came up on Appling. Of that, the world is certain.
What happened next has been debated, written about and rewritten about for 70 years.
According to one newspaper report, the ball hit Appling in the shoulder as DiMaggio made a beeline for safety. Another newspaper said the ball “took a bad bounce over the shortstop’s shoulder.”
With DiMaggio standing at first, Yankee players and the crowd looked toward the press box, waiting to see what official scorer Dan Daniel would call it.
Daniel, a scribe for the World-Telegram, happened also to be the Baseball Writers’ Association president at the time. He was well regarded. At age 51, he’d been around baseball as a reporter for 30 years.
After a painful wait came the signal from Daniel: “Hit,” he flashed as the crowd roared.
First-base coach Earle Combs (co-holder of the old mark with Cleveland manager Roger Peckinpaugh) was standing with DiMaggio when Daniel ruled the grounder a hit. He slapped Joe on the rear and graciously gave him an “atta boy.”
Reports say that DiMaggio didn’t acknowledge the ovation. Stone-faced, he took his lead. Second base was his next objective. There still was a game to win.
DiMaggio came home on a Charlie Keller home run, but the Yankees ultimately fell, 8-7—ending an eight-game New York winning streak.
Joe’s streak, however, had reached 30—a new Yankee record.
JoeDiMaggio.com is the official and authorized Web site of Joe DiMaggio. During the 70th anniversary of DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, it is publishing “Reliving Joe DiMaggio’s Streak,” which follows the daily progress of Joltin' Joe in 1941. Series Archive