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Joe DiMaggio’s 56-Game Hit Streak Comes to an End

Getty Images, photo by Keystone

It was July 17, 1941, in Cleveland before the largest baseball crowd that year when Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak came to an end. The most unfortunate thing about that game is it was not televised, so there is no recording of the event that saw DiMaggio go 0 for 3 that night.

The hit streak in 1941 was followed by fans everywhere and that night in Cleveland, Indians fans where cheering for Joe to get a hit and extend it to 57. Each time the slugger was at the plate the fans went wild, some with hopes of him getting a hit and some not sure if the wanted No. 57 to come against the home team.

Two of the outs live in baseball lore because of third baseman Ken Keltner. DiMaggio, once in the first inning and again in the seventh, hit a shot down the third base line and both times, Keltner dove to his left in foul ground to snag the ball. It was a bang-bang play at first, but they got Joe out. DiMaggio had another chance in the eighth with the bases loaded but hit a ground ball to the shortstop that went to second for the out.

The pitcher for the Indians that stopped the streak was Al Smith. DiMaggio said he had two feelings that night when the streak ended, sadness and relief, he was glad it was over because it had put such stress on him to continue, but he also said, losing the streak was like losing his best friend. The Yankees did win the game though.

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