Game 35: June 22, 1941
“Who Will Stop DiMaggio?” blared the New York Post headline.
“Sisler Standard Next Up for Joe,” promised the World Telegram.
On Sunday afternoon, June 22, 1941, it was a sweltering 86 degrees at Yankee Stadium. The Bronx Bombers would get a mixed bag of pitching from the fading Tigers.
Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser, a no-nonsense 207-game winner, went the first six innings. He tired and left trailing 3-2 after Joe DiMaggio’s 15th home run put the locals in the lead. Joe added a late-game double.
The Streak, now at 35 games, would again dominate the storyline. Not the Yankees’ 5-4 victory. Not the major league-record 18 straight games with a homer (Red Rolfe knocked one out as well). Not the Yankees’ 5-4 victory over Detroit that day.
The Streak of DiMaggio—and Gentleman George Sisler’s 1922 American League mark of 41 consecutive games with a hit—that’s all about which the sports world talked.
Sisler, who in 1922, batted .420 with the 41-straight game mark, was a quiet, courteous man who led by example. Had Sisler—a contemporary of Babe Ruth’s—played in the Big Apple, he would have been a household name.
As it was, only baseball-savvy New Yorkers or people in St. Louis, where he toiled in obscurity for the Browns, knew Sisler. The record books knew Sisler.
“He enjoyed it,” a relative of baseball giant Branch Rickey told Joe DiMaggio.com. “George said the renewed interest in him, thanks to DiMaggio closing in on his old streak, was ‘pretty exciting.’”
Sisler, whom Sporting News ranked 33rd in its listing of Top 100 Baseball Players of all time, for years followed Rickey as a special-assignment scout with the Browns, Dodgers and Pirates.
After going 2-for-5 with a couple of RBI in the victory over Detroit, DiMaggio reportedly lingered with the media in the Yankees clubhouse. In addition to the usual media suspects, Time and Life magazines sent photographers.
It was OK on this Sunday. Monday was an off day and Toots Shor's had Joe’s regular table cleared.
Figure on a 7 p.m. arrival.
The media wanted to chat.