The Day in Sports: Joe DiMaggio ties 'Wee' Willie Keeler's hit streak

John Scheibe
·4 min read
Dominic DiMaggio, left, seen in 1949, still holds the Boston Red Sox team record for the longest consecutive-game hitting streak, but was overshadowed by the towering legend of his brother Joe, the Yankee Clipper.
Joe DiMaggio, right, with his brother Dominic in 1949. (Ray Howard / Associated Press)

Before an encouraging crowd of 52,832 fans at Yankee Stadium, Joe DiMaggio singled off Boston's Jack Wilson on this date in 1941, to tie “Wee” Willie Keeler's record hitting streak of 44 games set in 1897.

The line drive to center field came in DiMaggio’s first at-bat in the second game of a doubleheader. DiMaggio, who passed George Sisler’s modern record of 41 straight games two days earlier in Washington, had two singles in the first game.

The Yankees center fielder broke Keeler’s record the next day and stretched the streak to 56 games, the longest in baseball history. It ended July 17 in a night game at Cleveland when he went hitless against Al Smith and Jim Bagby.

The Dodgers were scheduled to open July with the third game of four against the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium. The Angels were set to play the third of four games at Tampa Bay. Both contests were postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is a look at memorable moments, games and performances on this date:

1938 — Don Budge defeats Henry Austin of England 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 to win the men's singles title and sweep the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon for the second straight year. Budge, who considers turning professional but decides to remain an amateur, goes on to become the first player to win tennis’ Grand Slam when he adds Wimbledon to earlier victories at the Australian and French opens, and then the U.S. Nationals (now the U.S. Open) in September at Forest Hills, N.Y.

1951 — Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians pitches his third no-hitter, beating Detroit 2-1 in the first game of a doubleheader at Cleveland Stadium. Feller, known as “Rapid Robert” because of his blazing fastball, joins Cy Young and Larry Corcoran as the first pitchers to throw three no-hitters. The Tigers score an unearned run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly.

1951 — Beverly Hanson wins the Eastern Open by three strokes over Babe Zaharias in her LPGA Tour debut. She is the only golfer to win in her first professional start. Hanson, who as an amateur won the Texas Open in 1949 and both the California and Southern California ladies’ championships, would record 17 career LPGA victories, including three major championships.

1977 — England’s Virginia Wade wins the women’s singles title on the 100th anniversary of Wimbledon, when she defeats Betty Stove of the Netherlands 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. Wade, 31, who is viewed for a decade as her country’s tennis heroine, wins after 15 unsuccessful attempts, erasing her self-view as “the best player who never won Wimbledon.”

1990 — Cathy Johnston-Forbes completes a wire-to-wire performance when she beats Patty Sheehan by two strokes to win the LPGA du Maurier Classic at the Westmount Golf and Country Club in Kitchener, Canada. Johnston-Forbes posts a 72-hole total of 16-under-par 276.

1995 — The NBA locks out players at 12:01 a.m., the first work stoppage in league history. The shutdown comes after the players refuse to vote on a new labor contract. The action cancels all summer league games, tryouts and team-sponsored offseason games. The dispute ends Sept. 12 when an agreement is reached.

2012 — Spain wins its third straight major soccer title when it beats Italy 4-0 in the UEFA European Championship final at Olympic Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine. Spain, which won the European title in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010, posts the largest score in a European final. The goals come from David Silva in the 14th minute, Jordi Alba in the 41st, Fernando Torres in the 84th and Juan Mata in the 88th.

2012 — Tiger Woods shakes off a challenge by Bo Van Pelt in the final round to win the AT&T National at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., for his 74th career victory. It moves him past Jack Nicklaus into second place on the PGA Tour list, eight victories short of Sam Snead’s 82. Van Pelt hangs with Woods for 15 holes until he bogeys the final three to finish two strokes back.

2014 — The Indians execute an unorthodox triple play in the fourth inning against the Dodgers that requires two video replay reviews to sort out. With runners on first and third, Adrian Gonzalez lifts a fly ball to left fielder Michael Brantley, who throws Dee Gordon out at the plate. Catcher Yan Gomes then fires the ball to second baseman Jason Kipnis for the tag on Yasiel Puig as he slides head first. Cleveland manager Terry Francona challenges the original safe call on Puig and gets the play overturned after a review that lasts 1 minute 29 seconds. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly then challenges the call at the plate, but it stands after another wait of 1 minute 34 seconds. Cleveland goes on to a 10-3 win.