Joe DiMaggio's Streak, Game 46: The Nation Turns Its Pensive Eyes to DiMaggio

JoeDiMaggio.comGuest ColumnistJuly 8, 2011

Joe DiMaggio kissing his bat during the Streak in 1941
Joe DiMaggio kissing his bat during the Streak in 1941

Game 46: July 5, 1941

After setting the all-time record for the most consecutive games with a hit, Joe DiMaggio and the Yankees got a schedule break.

July 3, 1941, was an off day. When it rained on July 4, DiMaggio got an extra day to bask in the adulation of an America completely embracing Joltin’ Joe’s incredible run.

Even the Boston newspapers were heralding the importance of their archrival’s accomplishment. The Russian strategy for repealing the Nazi onslaught took a backseat to feature articles about Joe, his wife Dorothy, and The Streak.

After one of DiMaggio’s favorite bats—the one with which he was rumored to have broken Willie Keeler’s record—was misplaced or stolen, it was returned to him on the Fourth of July. He promptly signed it and sent it off to San Francisco to be raffled away in a USO fundraiser at a Seals game.

President Roosevelt wired the USO, lauding DiMaggio’s generosity and praising the Yankee Clipper as the “invincible Joe DiMaggio.”

New York literally toasted the DiMaggios as Joe and Dorothy made the nightlife rounds. Two days off meant plenty of time to celebrate—and as rare as it was for ol’ No. 5 to show emotion in public, newspaper reports painted a picture of DiMaggio as truly drinking in how everyone was recognizing 45 in a row.

But DiMaggio knew there was work to do on Saturday, July 5.

The once-proud Philadelphia Athletics were in town. Manager-owner Connie Mack and the A’s had fallen on hard times and—as another owner named Charley Finley would do to the franchise in the 1970s—Mack had broken apart his powerful team of the early ’30s. The bottom line now came before the line score.

Philadelphia was three games under .500, no longer swaggering like the teams of Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons.

That Saturday, almost 20,000 fans were barely settled when DiMaggio struck.

On the first pitch he saw on the afternoon, Joe spanked a long homer. The Streak instantly reached 46. The Yankees won their seventh straight contest, led second-place Cleveland by two games and were hitting on all eight cylinders.

How far could DiMaggio take The Streak? Would it ever end? 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