Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Farm Boy's Hero

The current issue (March 14, 2011) of Sports Illustrated has a cover story of Joe DiMaggio’s record 56 game hitting streak. The article focuses on a double-header game in Washington, D.C. where DiMaggio broke the 41 consecutive game record held by George Sisler on his way to the 56 game feat. I was a young farm boy at the time who kept a daily diary and was interested in baseball. While I didn’t note his having gotten hits in his 42 consecutive game, I did enter on July 2, 1941 that “DiMaggio gets a hit in his 44th straight game”.  On July 12th I noted that “Joe DiMaggio hits safely in 50 games” and on July 16th, “DiMaggio his in 55th game”. I was probably a day behind in my entries since the 56 game streak ended on July 17th in Cleveland. DiMaggio was always my hero and I later played center field for the Garland and Seward town teams. It was a thrill  for me to see him play at Cominskey Park in Chicago on September 23, 1948 even though the White Sox beat the Yankees 4-2. We saw the Cubs play the Cardinals the day before which were the first Major League games I’d seen. Since then I’ve seen games in over 50 Major League parks, all 30 of the current ones and over 20 that are no longer in existence.

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