Games 47 and 48: July 6, 1941
More than a month before, the Yankees had been given the sobering news of the death of Lou Gehrig.
At first, the team was stunned and slid into emotional quicksand. Those first few days, knowing the old captain was gone, hurt terribly. It took the Yankees a while to pull themselves together.
Now, on July 6, 1941, there were mixed emotions again. A memorial in center field was to be placed next to that of former manager Miller Huggins (who died suddenly in 1929).
The pregame ceremonies on the first cool day in weeks, a doubleheader with Philadelphia and DiMaggio’s streak were parlayed into the largest crowd of the season, 60,948.
As expected by now, DiMaggio excelled on this grand stage.
In a doubleheader sweep, Joltin’ Joe went 6-for-9 at the plate. He drove in four runs in extending The Streak to 48 consecutive games.
In center field, he dazzled those in attendance; his 10 putouts included two running catches back toward the new Gehrig monument, which at the time was more than 450 feet from home plate.
One account said that DiMaggio, in making his catch so close to the marble and stone addition, saluted his old friend by tapping Gehrig’s memorial with his glove as he turned to throw back into the infield.
Since Gehrig’s death on June 2, New York was 23-4. The Yankees had overtaken Cleveland and were on a 10-game winning string. DiMaggio was hitting .409 following the news about the man who had meant so much to him. DiMaggio had driven in 35 runs in those 27 games—and as if that wasn’t enough, he was starting to take hits away from opposing players.
As the Yanks were collectively hitting .357 with the team 3.5 games up on the second-place Indians, manager Joe McCarthy told a post twin-bill press conference, “DiMaggio is the greatest ballplayer in the game.”
You wouldn’t get any argument from the 60,948 in the stands—or the just-swept Philadelphia A’s.
Next up for DiMaggio? A quick trip to Detroit for what would be arguably the most entertaining All-Star game in history.
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