Tag: Joe Dimaggio

MLB: The Baseball Hall of Shame Returns to Bookshelves

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an avid reader. From Dr. Seuss to Chuck Klosterman, from Robert Ludlum to Christopher Moore, I’ve read a lot of books. 

As with any good book, it’s not out of the ordinary to read it more than once. Growing up, one that I read multiple times was The Baseball Hall of Shame: Volume Two—often doing so simply to make sure that my recollection of the outrageous (and often hysterical) miscues was right.

Now, twenty years after inducting their last class, authors Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo return with The Baseball Hall of Shame: The Best of Blooperstown.

Nash and Zullo spared nobody from enshrinement: legends of the game, like Joe DiMaggio and Christy Mathewson are members. So are those players who would be just another name if not for their mishaps, like Randall Simon and George Wilson.

Steve Bartman, Jeffrey Maier? They are Hall of Shamers as well.

The book itself is a very easy, enjoyable read. You can put the book down to do something if you have to without losing your place, but chances are you won’t want to put it down in the first place.

For all of it’s entertainment value, Nash and Zullo inadvertently remind us of something that is generally overlooked.

Baseball players, professional athletes—they are people, just like you, just like me. Regardless of how much money they make, how popular they are, how far they can hit a ball or how hard they can throw one, nobody is perfect.

It’s good to stop and remember that every once in awhile.

The Baseball Hall of Shame: The Best of Blooperstown is a great book to read, especially with the regular season just about to get underway. Whether you are an adult, a youngster or a fair-weather fan, there’s something for everyone in Blooperstown.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Joe DiMaggio Was Loved by Fans and Even the Boston Red Sox

“I watched every move Lou made on and off the field,” Joe DiMaggio said after he had been introduced by baseball commissioner Ford Frick at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

DiMaggio explained that he tried to pattern himself after Lou Gehrig. There is no question that he succeeded.

The New York Yankees have had many outstanding players, but none was a finer human being than Gehrig. DiMaggio was a close second. Fans appreciated DiMaggio, and they showed it.

There was polite applause when Frick introduced Frank “Home Run” Baker, Ray Shalk, Gabby Hartnett, Dazzy Vance and Ted Lyons. When the commissioner extended his hand to DiMaggio, the throng went wild with unrestrained cheering that would have made even Marilyn Monroe gratified.

“I’m proud indeed to be put alongside Lou, Bill Dickey, my other old teammates, and those other great players of my time and before.” DiMaggio was truly humbled

DiMaggio was returning to New York from Boston. As he slowed down just before entering the Bronx, a truck driver shouted something that DiMaggio later said sounded like “congratulations.” DiMaggio added that he thought that he also heard “Hall of Fame.”

“I didn’t know what to believe, so I turned on my car radio and sure enough, it was true.”

The tremendous love the fans showed DiMaggio at the induction might have been exceeded on Joe DiMaggio Day at the end of the 1949 season. DiMaggio, who was never ever nervous when facing Bob Feller or any other pitcher, admitted that this was different.

“Look,” he said, holding out his hands before the ceremonies at Yankee Stadium. His hands were trembling.

The Boston Red Sox were lined up near home plate during the ceremonies. They presented DiMaggio with a plaque that had the name of each Boston player inscribed on it. Even the team fighting the Yankees for the 1949 pennant appreciated DiMaggio as a person.

Since his death, there have been some pathetic attempts to denigrate DiMaggio. They merely reveal the lack of class of those individuals that seek to change the truth.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

DiMaggio Hit an Inside-the-Park HR and Mantle Hit One in the Upper Deck in 1962

The New York Yankees were hosting the Chicago White Sox on July 28, 1962. A Saturday afternoon crowd of 53,199 was on hand, but the game between the two rivals was not the primary attraction. It was Old Timers’ Day

The 1937 American League All-Stars faced the National League All-Stars in a two-inning game before the regularly scheduled contest. In 1937, the American Leaguers triumphed by a score of 8-3 at Griffith Stadium in Washington.

Joe DiMaggio retired after the 1951 season because he realized that he was no longer “Joe DiMaggio.” The second-greatest center fielder in history, right behind Ty Cobb, was appearing in his 11th old timers’ game, batting third.

In the first inning, with Earl Averill on first and one out, DiMaggio faced Van Lingle Mungo, who used to throw aspirin tablets for the Brooklyn Dodgers. DiMaggio worked the count to three balls and two strikes.

Mungo peered in to get the signal from his catcher, Ernie Lombardi, nodded assent, went into the wind-up and fired. DiMaggio connected.

The ball soared into deep center field, where the fence was 461 feet away.

To those fans who had seen DiMaggio play, the shot brought back many memories of drives that traveled over 450 ft. only to become outs.

Former New York Giants center fielder Jo-Jo Moore started racing back as almost all the fans rose to their feet. In a vain effort, Moore backpedaled and then fell to the ground as the ball landed beyond his reach and rolled to the wall.DiMaggio was at second base when Moore picked himself up and started after the ball. The crowd screamed for DiMaggio to keep going, which he did.  When Moore finally picked up the ball at the base of the wall, DiMaggio was about to touch third.

He was huffing and puffing as the crowd kept yelling for him to go for it. DiMaggio rounded third and headed for home.

Shortstop Dick Bartell caught the relay from the outfield, whirled and fired a strike to Lombardi that DiMaggio barely beat. The fans went berserk—especially the older ones.

In the dugout, a winded and grinning DiMaggio (yes, he did smile on occasion) told his teammates that he was retiring for a second time.

The day was filled with irony.

Dizzy Dean, whose career was cut short when Averill hit a line drive back to box that struck Dean in the foot, fracturing his toe, was injured in the old timers’ game.

Dean started the game and lasted one batter. Charlie Gehringer hit a sharp ground ball to the right of first baseman Johnny Mize. Dean went to cover first and tripped over the bag, ending his day.

In the regular game, the White Sox led the Yankees 3-0 when Mickey Mantle, the center fielder many modern fans rank ahead of DiMaggio, more than matched the Yankee Clipper’s feat.

Mantle broke up knuckle baller Eddie Fisher’s shutout bid with a seventh-inning home run into the upper deck of the right field stands.

It was a special day. Fans could say that they were at a game in which DiMaggio and Mantle each hit a home run.

It’s been asked thousands of times, but it will always be worth asking again: How many home runs did Yankee Stadium take away from Joe DiMaggio?

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Joe DiMaggio’s Streak, Games 19: Remembering and Restoring Remnants of Glory

Game 19: June 2, 1941

It was back to work for most Cleveland residents. The crowd of 52,240 of the day before shrank to less than 6,000 for the Monday game.

Despite Bob Feller on the mound, that twin bill setback might have hung heavy over the heads of the local fans.

Regardless, those in attendance would see a dandy. Sure, Feller won. He ran his record to 10-2 and pitched a complete game.

But the Yankees, nonetheless, took with them a feeling of accomplishment.

Seven hits—including two Tommy Heinrich homers—and four walks were worked by the Yanks in the 7-5 loss. Rapid Robert fanned “only” six. Joe DiMaggio doubled and singled in four trips, scoring twice.

Looking back at the 1941 season, Frankie Crosetti remembered Cleveland’s old League Park fondly:

“It was one of the places where Joe, and even me, seemed to hit well. Part of that place, I think, is still there. It was one of those great neighborhood parks—like Wrigley and Fenway.”

Crosetti, who talked about the park more than 20 years ago, was correct. In fact, the League Park Society today works to bring the old field back to life.

In 1891, when the Cleveland club was the Spiders of the National League, Cy Young threw the first pitch at the new facility at 66th Street and Lexington Avenue.

Tris Speaker, Babe Ruth, Feller and DiMaggio were some of the Hall of Famers with a stake in the park’s history.

League Park was home to the Indians through 1946, but the old ball field was never demolished—not completely.

In February of this year, Cleveland city officials approved a plan to restore what stands of the 120-year-old ballpark (a section of the brick facade along the first-base side and the old ticket office behind what was the right field corner).

A Cleveland spokesperson says League Park renovation will be finished next year.

Still used as a playground and recreational ball diamond, League Park promises to bring back hallowed visions of days gone by.

Games in which Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run or the shadow of Tribe third baseman Ken Keltner making two outstanding plays on July 17, 1941, ending a young Italian legend’s hitting streak at 56.


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

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Joe DiMaggio’s Streak, Game 31: It All Averages Out in the End

Game 31: June 18, 1941

Early in the Wednesday afternoon game of June 18, 1941, Joe DiMaggio’s deceiving speed helped him leg out an undisputed infield hit against the White Sox. The Streak now stood at 31 games.

While journalists were still murmuring about whether or not Joltin’ Joe’s previous day’s hit off (over?) the shoulder (chest?) of shortstop Luke Appling was legitimate or not, the Yankees were trying to subdue this pesky Chicago club.

Trailing 3-2 into the bottom of the eighth, Sox pitcher Thornton Lee was trying to correct course after a two-game losing streak. He was dodging bullet after bullet (the Yankees would leave 10 men on base this day).

With one out and one on, DiMaggio came to the plate. Keep the ball away, Lee thought. The big lefty was tiring. Don’t give him anything to hit, he urged himself.

Taking a little walk behind the mound, Lee collected himself. New York’s horrid, humid summer months were at hand, and this steamy afternoon hinted at what was ahead come July. Sopping wet was Lee’s flannel uniform. The 10,000 or so in attendance were anxious.

DiMaggio had to go, one way or another, Lee knew. A free pass to Joe wouldn’t be the end of the world.

DiMaggio used to say the difference between him and Ted Williams as hitters was that the Boston outfielder “was willing to take his walks, regardless of score or situation…I always swung, trying to win ballgames.”

It didn’t have to be a strike for DiMaggio to work his magic.

Now would be a terrific time for a jolt from Joe.

Lee rocked and fired.

Another sphere, thrown with the intent to walk Joe, was too close to the Yankee Clipper’s reach. DiMaggio’s bat swiftly glided toward the pitch and sent a towering drive to right.

Sox fielder Taffy Wright had to jump on his horse. By accounts in Big Apple newspapers, the ball was headed into the stands. But Wright made a fine running catch, Red Rolfe scrambled back to first and Lee survived the next four outs to win, 3-2.

Lucky to reach on a scratch hit earlier, DiMaggio was “robbed” of the chance to win the game later.

DiMaggio said later in life, “I pretty much felt it all evened out on the streak.”

.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

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Joe DiMaggio’s Streak, Game 30: A "Hit" for the Ages Eclipses Yankee Mark

Game 30: June 17, 1941

ABC News was still talking about it seven decades later. Sporting News columnists from time to time write about that “single” on June 17, 1941, at Yankee Stadium.

The Walrus, a Canadian publication stirred the pot eight years after Joe DiMaggio died in 1999. And Kostya Kennedy’s book 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports devotes a whole chapter to that ground ball: “Everybody Needs A Little Luck.”

So, about this hit extending The Streak to 30 straight—what’s so controversial?

DiMaggio was 0-for-3 when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning that Tuesday afternoon.

Chicago led 7-5.

The sparse crowd of 10,442 now held its collective breath. Would this be the end?

In what would be his final at-bat of the game, DiMaggio hit a grounder toward shortstop. Hall of Famer Luke Appling ranged to his left, glove down. Suddenly, the ball came up on Appling. Of that, the world is certain.

What happened next has been debated, written about and rewritten about for 70 years.

According to one newspaper report, the ball hit Appling in the shoulder as DiMaggio made a beeline for safety. Another newspaper said the ball “took a bad bounce over the shortstop’s shoulder.”

With DiMaggio standing at first, Yankee players and the crowd looked toward the press box, waiting to see what official scorer Dan Daniel would call it.

Daniel, a scribe for the World-Telegram, happened also to be the Baseball Writers’ Association president at the time. He was well regarded. At age 51, he’d been around baseball as a reporter for 30 years.

After a painful wait came the signal from Daniel: “Hit,” he flashed as the crowd roared.

First-base coach Earle Combs (co-holder of the old mark with Cleveland manager Roger Peckinpaugh) was standing with DiMaggio when Daniel ruled the grounder a hit. He slapped Joe on the rear and graciously gave him an “atta boy.”

Reports say that DiMaggio didn’t acknowledge the ovation. Stone-faced, he took his lead. Second base was his next objective. There still was a game to win.

DiMaggio came home on a Charlie Keller home run, but the Yankees ultimately fell, 8-7—ending an eight-game New York winning streak.

Joe’s streak, however, had reached 30—a new Yankee record.

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

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

New York Yankees: Mickey Mantle Edged by Joe DiMaggio

In 1999, the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) rated the 100 greatest players of all time. Mickey Mantle finished 12th. Joe DiMaggio finished sixth.

SABR is a respected organization that is on the cutting edge of innovation with respect to modern statistics, but their rankings can be questioned. Many fans, especially today’s New York Yankees fans, rate Mantle ahead of DiMaggio.

DiMaggio’s peak seasons occurred consecutively from his rookie season in 1936 through 1941, when he hit in 56 consecutive games. DiMaggio had a good year in 1942, but it was well below the seasons that had preceded it.

After returning from helping to defend freedom during WWII, which cost him three seasons, DiMaggio never quite regained his earlier form.

From 1936-41, DiMaggio batted .345, had a .408 on base average, slugged .626 and averaged 33 home runs. When one projects his home run average to a 162 game season, home runs increase to 39.

Mickey Mantle didn’t come into his own until 1955. Following an erratic, inconsistent rookie season in 1951, Mantle was a fine player the next three seasons and then matured.

From 1955-58, Mantle hit .331 with a .462 on base average and a .643 slugging average. He averaged 41 home runs, which increase to 46 when adjusted for a 162 game season.

The next two years were not Mantle’s best, but he had excellent seasons in 1961 and 1962, hitting .319 with a .465 on base average and a .652 slugging average. He averaged 42 home runs, which increase to 50 when adjusted for 162 games.

Based on peak seasons, it is a fool’s task to choose one over the other. Based on the rest of each player’s career, DiMaggio gets a statistical edge, primarily because his only subpar season was 1951, when hit batted .263 with a mere 12 home runs.

Mantle’s rookie year (.267/.349/.443) and three of his final four seasons were well below the norms set during his career. He batted .255 in 1965, .245 in 1967 and managed to hit only .237 in his final season.

Many fans and those in the media point out that despite his low averages, Mantle had solid on base averages during those three seasons (.379, .391 and .385), but his slugging averages (.452, .434 and .398) were unlike Mickey Mantle.

Those who saw DiMaggio play, and that number is decreasing with the passage of time, point out that DiMaggio was a far superior defensive player compared to Mantle, but one must wonder how much of that is based on legend or exaggeration.

Unlike Mantle, who played the outfield on speed and instinct, DiMaggio was exacting in his study of the hitting patterns of opposing players, and the effects of wind and ballpark peculiarities on the flight patterns of baseballs

Many writers, teammates and opponents have claimed that DiMaggio was such a natural outfielder that he never had to dive for a ball to make a catch.

In 1947, Joe was victimized in the World Series when Brooklyn’s Al Gionfriddo robbed him of a potential game-tying home run by making one of the great catches in World Series history. Years later, DiMaggio spoke to a writer about the catch.

“Don’t put this in the papers, but if he’d been playing me right, he’d have made it look easy.”

Teammate Bobby Brown claimed that DiMaggio would have made the catch but without diving for it. That makes for good copy, but it is mere hyperbole.

DiMaggio was rarely fooled by a fly ball. He seemed to glide across the huge center field expanse of Yankee Stadium with little effort. He made the difficult seem easy, but he proved he was human during the 1936 All-Star Game.

In the second inning, Joe misplayed Gabby Hartnett’s line drive into a triple, allowing Frank Demaree to score the game’s first run. DiMaggio tried to make a shoestring catch, but the ball went between his legs and rolled to the wall.

DiMaggio was not a showboat. He made only the moves necessary to make the play.

He would reach the ball just as it fell into his glove, which seemed to make the catch inevitable. Baseball scribe Wilfrid Sheed wrote “In dreams I can still see him gliding after fly balls as if he were skimming the surface of the moon.”

Mantle was originally a shortstop who was defensively challenged. He was switched to the outfield, where he became an above average defensive player.

Mantle had a great throwing arm, at least as good as DiMaggio’s, until Red Schoendienst fell on his right shoulder on a pick off play in the 1957 World Series.

Mantle was faster than DiMaggio, but the latter was probably a better baserunner. Mantle was a much greater stolen base threat but Joe McCarthy, who was DiMaggio’s manager for many years, made an interesting comment.

“He was the best baserunner I ever saw,” McCarthy said. “He could have stolen 50, 60 bases a year if I let him. He wasn’t the fastest man alive. He just knew how to run bases better than anybody.”

No matter how one interprets the statistics and evaluates the opinions of those who saw both men play, Joe DiMaggio was just a little bit better than Mickey Mantle.


100 Greatest Players at Baseball-Almanac

Joe DiMaggio Articles

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Joe DiMaggio’s Streak, Game 13: All Concern No Longer on the Field

Game 13: May 28, 1941

“I have tonight issued a proclamation that an unlimited national emergency exists and requires the strengthening of our defense to the extreme limit of our national power and authority,” came the message from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Most of the players gathering at the ballpark had heard most of the FDR’s speech the night before on radio.

But the morning papers in Washington were putting in perspective exactly what the president meant.

The Yankees and Senators had a lot of time to digest the news—on May 28, their contest was supposed to be special: the first night game at Griffith Stadium.

But the topic of discussion at breakfast revolved around the United States’ potential entry into the war in Europe.

Some players pondered the ugly truth: soon they’d be enlisted to the military.

After all, the draft was already in place. Detroit superstar Hank Greenberg was the first big name snatched from a roster. Could the Smiths and Joneses of Major League Baseball be far behind?

Roosevelt’s speech made America’s involvement in the European conflict sound imminent.

But first things first—there was a ballgame at hand. More than 25,000 fans came to see the great Walter Johnson throw out the first pitch. A beam of light at home plate would supposedly be broken by the Big Train’s pitch, activating the lights at cavernous Griffith Stadium.

Johnson’s ceremonial heave was close enough (a technician somewhere in the hidden confines of the park threw a switch). Voila! The Senators’ first night game.

Pesky Sid Hudson was on the mound for the Solons. Having an earned run average at 4.43 was miraculous, considering the sieve of a defense that labored behind him.

Hudson held a 3-0 lead until DiMaggio tripled and scored in the sixth.

Going into the eighth, Hudson held sway with one out, but Charlie Keller’s pinch-hit grand slam proved the difference in a come-from-behind 6-5 win.

Still, Roosevelt’s words were ringing throughout the nation.

“There are some timid ones among us who say that we must preserve peace at any price, lest we lose our liberties forever,” the president had said. “To them I say this: never in the history of the world has a nation lost its democracy by a successful struggle to defend its democracy.”

The president reiterated a line from his 1932 inaugural speech:

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Hitler and first-place Cleveland now worried about the Yanks closing in.


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.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Joe DiMaggio’s Steak, Game 7: 2-for-5 vs. Detroit, DiMaggio vs. Stadium

Reliving Joe DiMaggio’s Streak: Game 7, May 21, 1941 

In a 5-4 victory over the visiting Detroit Tigers, Joe DiMaggio could have had a huge day—a huge in day in almost any ballpark, except Yankee Stadium.

Two singles in five trips were enough to drive in the winning run and raise the Yankee Clipper’s average to .325. The Streak was now at a modest seven games.

But the unforgiving dimensions of Yankee Stadium cost Joe on this day—as it would on many other afternoons throughout his career.

Hitters needed a bus transfer to reach the center field fence, some 461 feet away. Then there was the left-center power alley, 457 feet from home plate. With straightaway left measured at 415 feet, a right-handed hitter—like DiMaggio—needed to launch a missile to hit a homer.

Pat Mullin, a journeyman center fielder for the Tigers, made two catches of deep DiMaggio drives—one nestled up against the fence.

Few players in baseball history were hurt as much by his home park configuration as was DiMaggio. (If you tracked all of his “outs” to center, left and left-center field and then placed these hit balls in the current Yankee Stadium. The result: 750-plus home runs.)

He hit .315 with 148 home runs in Yankee Stadium. On the road, his average was .333 with 213 homers. No major league player with 300 or more career home runs hit as high a percentage on the road.

Two hundred miles away, in Boston, Ted Williams was almost as challenged by Fenway Park.

Williams, a left-handed hitter, dealt with a power alley in right center that ranged from 380 to 420 feet. He also smacked more circuit clouts on the road than at home—273 on the road, 248 at home. Williams’ average at home, however, was a torrid .361 (.328 away from Fenway).

Had DiMaggio played at Fenway, the left-center field fence would have been an inviting 379 feet from the plate. Williams, at Yankee Stadium, would have had that short right-field porch at which Babe Ruth aimed all those years.

The discussion reverberated among fans and in newspapers about how much more effective the two sluggers might have been had they played in each others’ park—so much so that in 1947, Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and Yankees general manager Larry MacPhail had agreed to trade DiMaggio for Williams.

The deal, to the relief of most Yankees fans, fell through. The reason? MacPhail refused to “throw in” a rookie catcher—Yogi Berra.


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.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Jered Weaver and the 20 Best Younger Brothers in Major League Baseball History

There have been over 350 brothers to play in Major League Baseball history.

In some of them, the older brother was the better player.  Hank Aaron was easily a better player than Tommie Aaron.  Paul Waner was better than his younger brother Lloyd, but both are in the Hall of Fame.

So, out of all the brothers to play at the major league level, which of the younger brothers were better than their older siblings?

I came up with a list of 20 younger brothers who were better than their older brothers.  Some may surprise you because you may not know they had an older brother in baseball (I know a couple of them surprised me).

This list is not in any particular order, just who I consider the 20 best younger brothers in baseball history when compared to their older brothers.

Let’s start with the active players.

Begin Slideshow

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress