NEW YORK, July 6, 1941 -- The fans mobbed him by the end of a long, emotional and memorable day. And who could blame them?Not only did Joe DiMaggio's history-making hitting streak continue through two more games against the Philadelphia Athletics on Sunday, but his New York Yankees kept piling
NEW YORK, July 6, 1941 -- The fans mobbed him by the end of a long, emotional and memorable day. And who could blame them?
Not only did Joe DiMaggio's history-making hitting streak continue through two more games against the Philadelphia Athletics on Sunday, but his New York Yankees kept piling up the wins on their march to what they hope will be an American League pennant.
New York won the first game, 8 to 4, and the second game, 3 to 1. But the numbers the largest Yankee Stadium crowd of the season (60,948 persons) and the rest of the streak-crazy country were more concerned about were games 47 and 48 of DiMaggio's Major League-record streak.
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Before all that was settled, the Yankees engineered a somber remembrance, unveiling a monument in center field to the late New York legend, Lou Gehrig. As if inspired by the presence of his friend and former teammate, DiMaggio enjoyed quite a day on the diamond.
In the first game, the Yankees center fielder took away any suspense regarding the 47th game of the streak by singling to left field, scoring the first of four runs the Yanks would push across in the opening frame. DiMaggio added three more hits, including a second-inning single, a fifth-inning double and an eighth-inning single, and Bill Dickey and Red Rolfe hit home runs in the rout.
In the second game of the twin bill, DiMaggio once again didn't make his growing legion of streak supporters wait very long. In the first inning, after a Tommy Henrich single, DiMaggio got the Yankees on the board with a triple to center field. Just like that, he had hit in 48 straight games, and for good measure, he singled in his club's second run in the third inning.
The Yanks built a 3 to 0 lead and held on after giving up a run in the ninth inning, but DiMaggio's day at the plate was one to savor. He had six hits in nine total trips to the plate over the course of the two games and exited the stadium with a batting average of .357.
But it wasn't just his hitting that made the fans delirious. DiMaggio also had a banner day in the field, recording 10 putouts, including two running catches that had him retreating all the way to the general area of the new Gehrig monument some 450 feet from home plate.
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"DiMaggio is the greatest ballplayer in the game," Yankees manager Joe McCarthy told reporters after the games, and lately it's been very difficult to argue.
DiMaggio has hit in 48 consecutive games and doesn't seem to be slowing down, even though he'll have to now as he heads to Detroit to take part in the All-Star Game.
The Yanks have won nine games in a row and have 48 wins to 26 losses, their season's best record.
They're also 3 1/2 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians and right where they want to be: in first place in the American League standings.
On May 15, 1941, Joe DiMaggio began his legendary 56-game hitting streak. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of that seemingly unbreakable record, we'll be doing a day-by-day account of the momentous feat.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.