Did You Know the Cleveland Indians Ended Joe DiMaggio's 56-Game Hitting Streak?

Steve DiMatteo

Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees

Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak is often considered one of baseball's unbreakable records, though I'm not so sure about that one (more on that later). 

Still, it's one of the coolest accomplishments in the history of the game, and it has proven to stand the test of time, as it took place during the 1941 baseball season, a mere 83 years ago. And, really, there have only been a few remotely decent attempts at the record since.

So you might know the number of the streak, and you certainly know good ol' Joe DiMaggio, but did you know the Cleveland Indians were the team to break the streak?

The Day Joe DiMaggoio's Hitting Streak Came to an End

That's right, DiMaggio's streak was broken on July 17, 1941 at Municipal Stadium. DiMaggio nearly had a hit in his first at-bat, hitting a pitch down the third-base line, but Cleveland's Ken Keltner was able to make the play - the same thing would happen in the seventh inning as well. DiMaggio walked in his second at-bat, much to the dismay of the Cleveland crowd. And finally, for his last at-bat in the eighth inning, DiMaggio grounded into a double play to shortstop Lou Boudreau, putting an end to the streak.

There are many incredible aspects to DiMaggio's feat. For starters, he hit .408 during the 56-game streak, notching 91 total hits over that span, including 15 home runs, 16 doubles, and four triples, driving in 55 runs. Perhaps most incredibly, he walked 21 times to just five strikeouts. 

And then, as if all that wasn't enough, DiMaggio was clearly unfazed by his streak being snapped, as the very next day he simply began a new 16-game hitting streak by getting a hit off Bob Feller. Joltin' Joe was even hotter during this new streak, hitting .427 with five home runs, nine doubles, two triples, and 11 walks to just one strikeout.

So it was on that fateful July day in Cleveland that the Indians halted what could have been an even more incredible - and possibly unbreakable - streak.

But Could Anyone Break the Streak Today?

The closest anyone has come in recent years is Jimmy Rollins in 2005-2006, when he had a 38-game hitting streak that extended over into two seasons. Most recently, Whit Merrifield had a 31-game hitting streak between 2018 and 2019, with a few other players having similar streaks in the 21st century. 

Beyond that, Pete Rose has come the closest, with a 44-game streak in 1978. If he couldn't do it, is DiMaggio's record truly unbreakable?

As far as active players go, there are a couple names out there who could one day challenge the record if the stars aligned. Luis Arráez of the Miami Marlins, but how about Cleveland's own Steven Kwan? Players with bat-to-ball skills like those two have perhaps the best chance of one day matching DiMaggio's record, but clearly, it's a gargantuan task that involves an obscene amount of luck that no one else has been able to replicate.

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