Joe Dimaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports

Paperback - 2012
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Winner of the 2011 CASEY Award from Spitball Magazine

Seventy baseball seasons ago, on a May afternoon at Yankee Stadium, Joe DiMaggio lined a hard single to leftfield. It was the quiet beginning to the most resonant baseball achievement of all time. Starting that day, the vaunted Yankee centerfielder kept on hitting-at least one hit in game after game after game.

In the summer of 1941, as Nazi forces moved relentlessly across Europe and young American men were drafted by the millions, it seemed only a matter of time before the U.S. went to war. The nation was apprehensive. Yet for two months in that tense summer, America was captivated by DiMaggio's astonishing hitting streak. In 56, Kostya Kennedy tells the remarkable story of how the streak found its way into countless lives, from the Italian kitchens of Newark to the playgrounds of Queens to the San Francisco streets of North Beach; from the Oval Office of FDR to the Upper West Side apartment where Joe's first wife, Dorothy, the movie starlet, was expecting a child. In this crisp, evocative narrative Joe DiMaggio emerges in a previously unseen light, a 26-year-old on the cusp of becoming an icon. He comes alive-a driven ballplayer, a mercurial star and a conflicted husband-as the tension and the scrutiny upon him build with each passing day.

DiMaggio's achievement lives on as the greatest of sports records. Alongside the story of DiMaggio's dramatic quest, Kennedy deftly examines the peculiar nature of hitting streaks and with an incisive, modern-day perspective gets inside the number itself, as its sheer improbability heightens both the math and the magic of 56 games in a row.
Publisher: New York : Time Home Entertainment Inc., 2012.
ISBN: 9781603209137
Characteristics: 367 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Alternative Title: Fifty-six
Sports illustrated.


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Jun 04, 2011

If you love baseball history you know about Joe Dimaggio the Yankees' superstar centerfielder. Even if you aren't old enough to have been alive when it happened you've probably heard about Joe's 56 game hitting streak in 1941 a record many experts say will stand forever. Through meticulous research and interviews Kennedy takes readers beyond the field. From the private world inhabited only by DiMaggio and his wife Dorothy to Newark, NJ barbershops, the playgrounds of Queens, and the streets of DiMaggio's hometown, San Francisco Kennedy humanizes an immortal accomplishment. I didn't want this smoothly and beautifully written true story to come to an end in part because it is about so much more than baseball.


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