Pitcher Jim Bagby, Sr. Ends Joe DiMaggio's 56-Game Hitting Streak
Finally, on July 17 in Cleveland, in a night game in front of 67,468 fans, DiMaggio went hitless against Cleveland pitchers Al Smith and Jim Bagby, Jr. In his first three at-bats, DiMaggio grounded out to third twice against Smith, both on hard-hit balls, and then walked. With Bagby pitching in the eighth inning, DiMaggio hit into a double play, ending a Yankee rally and the greatest hitting streak in major league history. DiMaggio confided to a teammate after the game that by failing to get a hit he had also lost the $10,000 promised to him by Heinz ketchup for matching the number "57" featured on their labels.
Bagby participated as a member of the Indians organization on the July 17, 1941 game where Joe DiMaggio's game hitting streak was halted at 56. His son, Jim Bagby, Jr., was also a major leaguer who played for the Red Sox, Indians and Pirates. The Bagbys became the first father and son to pitch in the World Series when Jim Jr. appeared for the 1946 Red Sox.
It was truly remarkable - a hit every game for two months, from May 15 through July 17, 1941 in Yankee wins and defeats, in games played in the daytime and those played at night. Single games, doubleheaders, meaningless games and ones that really counted - - Joe DiMaggio was locked in for 56 straight. And what made the epic feat even more dramatic was that it took place in the summer of '41, a time America was locked into news of the triumphs and tragedies of World War II.