On this date in 1999, the Yankee family lost one of the greatest hitters to ever wear the pinstripes, Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio. A heavy smoker for much of his adult life, DiMaggio would undergo lung cancer surgery in October 1998 in Hollywood, FL. He would remain hospitalized for 99 days before returning to his home in Hollywood in January 1999. A little less than two months after returning home, Joe DiMaggio would pass away at the age of 84.
Despite losing 3 years of his career due to serving his country in World War 2, The Yankee Clipper would go on to play 13 seasons in pinstripes and help lead the Yankees to 9 World Series titles during his playing year. Let me repeat that again… 9 World Series championships in 13 years of playing! Joltin’ Joe would amass 2,214 hits in his abbreviated career, while knocking out 361 home runs and driving in 1,537 RBI’s. Oh yeah, and his career batting average was an incredible .325.
DiMaggio would win 3 league MVP awards, including the 1941 award where he beat out rival Ted Williams who hit .406 on the season… the last batter to ever hit .400 in a season. Despite all the championships and awards, there is only one number that really sticks out when you hear the name Joe DiMaggio. 56. That number defines the incredible hitting streak he put together during the 1941 season. It’s a streak that in my mind will never be broken.