The 1941 consecutive game streak was a rather intriguing situation. DiMaggio actually started off having a bad year. He really didn't hit much in April and early May and there was a lot of concern about him.
But, of course, by that time, he was such a great established star, Joe McCarthy wasn't worried and wouldn't bench him. But, he was waiting for Joe to start get going so the Yankees would get going.
And on May 15th, he did get a base hit and that began the famous 56-game consecutive hitting streak. And it really didn't matter very much for the first 20, 25 games. That's a rather common thing. Players do hit in that many games and have. The record was 37 held by Sisler.
And, finally, when he got into the early 30s, which would be around late June, people then began to get excited about it. The papers were writing about it every day. The other players were being asked about it. DiMaggio was being asked a great deal about it. And he was approaching the 37 and the Yankees were hoping that he would do it.
Of course, the team was winning so they were very involved in seeing that Joe continued. And he finally broke the Sisler record, and when he got into the 40s, by that time the entire country seemed to be caught up in this thing.
Papers were sending reporters from all over the country, including, of course, California, which had not teams but had a great interest in DiMaggio as a native son of California.
And shortly thereafter, there were actually songs being written about him. Les Brown wrote a song about the streak, the Consecutive Game Hitting Streak. And that caught on. People began to play the song. Record producers began putting the record out and the discjockeys were playing it on the radio.
And people would walk around, especially in New York City when I was a kid, and they would be carrying the portable radio. And when you saw somebody with a portable radio, you would simply say, did he do it? And everybody understood what that meant. It simply meant did he get a base hit today. And the answer was always 40, 41, 42... And this went on and on and it was just an incredibly thrilling thing to see the entire country involved in this incredible streak.
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