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Joe DiMaggio's Streak, Game 54: One Streak Continues, One Ends

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Joe DiMaggio's Streak, Game 54: One Streak Continues, One Ends
Joe DiMaggio and Lefty Gomez

Game 54: July 14, 1941

It was July 14, 1941. Thanks to the brilliant pitching of White Sox right-hander Johnny Rigney, the streak was over. No, not The Streak. The Yankees’  winning string was ended at 14 as Chicago thumped New York, 7-1.

Joe DiMaggio’s infield single in the sixth ran the real streak to 54 games.

Only 8,025 witnessed the unusual Yankee loss and, to a man, the Bronx Bombers were pooped. The hundreds of autograph seekers at the Hotel Del Prado ebbed into a couple of dozen as midnight approached.

Room service was busy. Most of the Yankees ordered in. It was a hot, humid night. Chicago summers can be unforgiving, and the players were pinned by a horrid heat wave.

Even DiMaggio’s roommate, happy-go-lucky Lefty Gomez, had become exasperated by the determined fans who found their way to their door.

After ignoring their insistent knocking for the longest time, Gomez would periodically scatter the throngs by opening the door and telling the fans “DiMaggio isn’t here.”

For those who appreciated El Goofy, Gomez’s signature was the booby prize that evening.

Of course, as the book 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports explained, “DiMaggio was there, lying on top of the bed with his long legs stretched out and crossed…or else silently standing beside the window, smoking.”

The road was generally lonely for players. For DiMaggio, it was getting worse. Everybody knew what he looked like. When the Yankees were in a city, the DiMaggio watch began. Joe couldn’t go from Point A to Point B without being mobbed during The Streak.

In a city like Chicago, anonymity was next to impossible.

Thank goodness for Lefty, DiMaggio frequently thought.

Every fan seemed to want a piece of Joe DiMaggio. Everyone willed The Streak to continue. DiMaggio confided in coach Frankie Crosetti one night, “When will it end?”

Crosetti took Joe’s comment to mean The Streak. History would interpret the remark as meaning the constant attention.

On this day, the assault was such that DiMaggio was forced to stay put. Just as well. He needed the rest.

 

JoeDiMaggio.com is the official and authorized website 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

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