Ray Moore and “Joltin'” Joe

In reference to yesterday’s “point of reference piece”, my friend Ray Moore messaged that he was one of the witnesses to the end of a baseball record that still stands.  The year was 1941 in the months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  Ray was a few days shy of his 19th birthday. On July 17th, he was among almost 70-thousand fans at Cleveland Stadium.  “Joltin'”Joe Dimaggio and the Yankees were the visitors.  Dimaggio was trying to extend his 56-game hitting streak.   Lefty Al Smith was on the mound for the Indians.  Ray remembers watching  Dimaggio’s first at bat.  He grounded out to Ken Keltner who was playing deep at third.   In his second at bat, Dimaggio walked.   Third time up, he again hit the ball to Keltner who threw him out.  Dimaggio would have one more chance to keep his streak going.   It was the 8th inning, the Yankee star hit the ball weakly to shortstop Lou Boudreau who turned a double-play.   The 56 game streak was over.     Few remember that the day after Dimaggio’s record streak ended, he started a new 16-game streak.  That meant he hit in 72 of 73 games with a .408 average during those 73 games.  His season average was .357.    1941 was also the year of the last .400+ hitter.   Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox finished the 1941 season with a .406 average.   A few months later Ray and many baseball stars of that era were among the thousands who went to war.

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One Response to “Ray Moore and “Joltin'” Joe”

  1. Aubrey B. Says:

    Don, please contact me re. the old days etc.

    Aubrey B.

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