On May 3rd, 1936 one of the greatest baseball players and Yankees of all – time, Joe DiMaggio made his Major League Baseball debut for the New York Yankees. His illustrious career took off approximately 85 years ago, with a three hit first game, helping his beloved New York Yankees beat the St. Louis Browns.
Joe was known as the “Yankee Clipper” and his overall baseball career is considered still to this day as one of the best of all time. Now that Major League Baseball is close to the beginning their 2021 MLB postseason now is the perfect time to take a look back and remember all that DiMaggio did for baseball and this great country, the United States of America.
How the New York Yankees Acquired Joe DiMaggio
This hall of fame hitting machine was actually traded to the New York Yankees by the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League in 1934 for players to be named later and cash considerations. Those players sent to the San Francisco Seals in the trade for Joe DiMaggio happened to be Doc Farrell and Floyd Newkirkas well as the minor leaguers Jimmy Densmore and Ted Norbert.
The Yankees paid out San Francisco $5,000 in cash too to complete the deal. What a hell of a deal for the legendary and almighty New York Yankees, who are currently leading the American League Wild Card playoff race by 2 games over their arch – nemesis in the Boston Red Sox.
Career Achievements and Awards
DiMaggio’s amazing 13 – year career spanning from 1936 – 1942 and 1946 – 1951 was interrupted for a few years due to him enlisting in World War II. He was selected to the All – Star team every year he played Major League Baseballmaking him a 13 time All Star in 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, and 1951.
The right – handed center fielder led the New York Yankees to 10 World Series appearances in which they won 9 World Series titles in 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1950, and 1951 which is absolutely unbelievable and completely unheard of especially in today’s game.
Joe was a 3 – time American League MVP in 1939, 1941, and 1947. He went on to become the American League batting champion 2 times in 1939 and 1940, the American League home run leader twice in 1937 and 1948, and the American League runs batted in leader 2 – times in 1941 and 1948 as well.
DiMaggio has a still standing Major League Baseball record for a 56 consecutive game hitting streak that occurred back in 1941, and that many of the baseball purists believe is a record that may never be able to be broken in Major League Baseball. The closest anyone has ever got to that 56 – game hitting streak was Willie Keeler of the Baltimore Orioles with 45 in 1896 – 1897. The hit king himself, Pete Rose, couldn’t even get more than 44 consecutive games with a hit which is an amazing feat in itself.
Joe’s number 5 has been retired by the New York Yankees, and he has a special spot in the Yankees famous Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. He made it on to the Major League Baseball All Century Team too. In 1955 Joe DiMaggio was enshrined in to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. He was voted in to the Hall of Fame on his third ballot with an astonishing 88.84 % vote.
Career Statistics (Regular Season)
DiMaggio’s career statistics are absolutely amazing. He played in 1736 regular season games, with 7672 plate appearances, and 6821 official at bats. Joe accounted for 1390 runs, 2214 hits, 389 doubles, 131 triples, 361 home runs, 1537 RBIs, 30 stolen bases, and 790 base on balls (walks).
Joe had a career batting average of .325 which is a damn rare accomplishment in Major League Baseball. His on base percentage was .398, and he had a slugging percentage of .579. DiMaggio has on base + slugging percentage of .977 as well as an OPS + of 155.
Career Statistics (Post Season)
It must be noted that back in his playing days the post season only consisted of the World Series unlike today where it takes a minimum of 3 total and separate series to become World Series champions. DiMaggio played in 51 post season games with 220 plate appearances and 199 official at bats. Joe accounted for 27 runs, 54 hits, 6 doubles, 0 triples, 8 home runs, 30 RBIs, 0 stolen bases, and 19 base on balls.
DiMaggio had a career playoff batting average of .271. His on base percentage was .338, and he had a slugging percentage of .422. Joe has on base + slugging percentage of .760, and he was intentional walked 6 times. Let’s not forget he went to 10 World Series out of his total 13 seasons that he played, and he won 9 of those World Series. The only player who has won more World Series championships is the legendary Yogi Berra who won 10 of them as a player as well as winning 13 World Series titles including his time as a coach and manager.
The legendary New York Yankee, Joe DiMaggio, finally decided to hang up his cleats and announce his retirement from professional baseball on December 11th, 1951.
Joe DiMaggio had this to say to the Sporting News on December 19th, 1951, “I feel like I have reached the stage where I can no longer produce for my club, my manager, and my teammates. I had a poor year, but even if I had hit .350, this would have been my last year. I was full of aches and pains and it had become a chore for me to play. When baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game, and so, I’ve played my last game.”
The Passing of a Legend
DiMaggio died on March 8th, 1999 at 84 – years – old (1914 – 1999). Just several months earlier he under went lung cancer surgery as Joe was a heavy smoker for the majority of his life. The Yankee Clipper was one of Major League Baseball’s greatest players of all – time, and Joe will always be remembered as one of the best New York Yankees ever (and there are quite a lot of those). It is always nice to look back in history and remember those who made sports as well as their game so much better by their play on the field, and DiMaggio was definitely one of those players.