Thursday, October 10, 2013

DiMaggio Plays In Final Game

On Oct. 10, 1951, the New York Yankees beat the cross-town rival New York Giants four games to two in the World Series. It was also the final time that Martinez native Joe DiMaggio played Major League Baseball.

DiMaggio, nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees.

His brothers Vince and Dom also became major league center fielders with the Red Sox.

However, DiMaggio is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record that still stands to this day.

DiMaggio's 56-game streak became one of the most idolized numbers in baseball and joined Babe Ruth's home run records, and later Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game, as the most hallowed records in all of sports. Whenever any player recorded a hit streak in the mid-thirties, still twenty short of the record, that player would receive an immense amount of coverage from the media. That's how enormous Joe's record was.

During his tenure with the Yankees, the club won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships.

At the time of his retirement, DiMaggio ranked fifth in career home runs (361) and sixth in career slugging percentage (.579).

DiMaggio would have had a much more storied career if it were not the case that he enlisted in the United States Air Force in February of 1943. DiMaggio was stationed at Santa Ana, California, Hawaii, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a physical education instructor. He was released on medical discharge in September 1945 due to chronic stomach ulcers.

DiMaggio would return to baseball in 1946 after three years in service.

However, even with time in the Air Force during the prime of his career, DiMaggio ended his career as one of the most loved Yankees, as he was a nine-time World Series Champion, a three-time MVP and, of course, he holds the record for consecutive game hit-streak with 56 games. DiMaggio’s career stats are not to be looked over either; in his 13-year career, he was an All-Star every year, including seven consecutive appearances from 1936-1942, and then six more consecutive appearances from 1946-1951. He finished his career with a .325 batting average, 2,214 hits, 389 doubles, 131 triples, 361 home runs, 790 walks, 1,537 RBIs, 1,390 run and a .398 on base percentage.

DiMaggio led the league in batting average twice in 1939 and 1940. In 1939 he won his first MVP award. DiMaggio also led the league in home runs twice in 1937, and 1948; both times he was runner up for the MVP. In 1937 he also led the league in runs scored. In 1941 and 1948 he led the league in RBIs, in 1941 he won the second of his three MVP awards.

DiMaggio was in the top 10 in MVP voting in 10 of his 13 years of action, and in the top three six times.

The New York Yankees retired DiMaggio’s No. 5 jersey in 1952.

He was inducted into the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955 with 88.84 percent of the vote on the third ballot in which he appeared, and was voted the sport's greatest living player in a poll taken during the baseball centennial year of 1969.

On Sept. 27, 1998, New York Yankee and Martinez native DiMaggio made his last public appearance at Yankee Stadium. Owner George Steinbrenner presented him with replicas of his nine World Series rings, which had been stolen 30 years previously.

In 1999 DiMaggio was named as one of Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team members.