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DiMaggio request line, shameless rip version three

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  • DiMaggio request line, shameless rip version three

    So, with the recent Ruth thread, I thought I would do the same for another baseball icon. Any questions, requests, etc. etc, about DiMaggio?

    Ask away........ :cap:
    Last edited by DiMag4Life; 02-21-2008, 10:13 PM.

  • #2
    Well, OK, then. Thank you for starting a Joe Request Line. Great idea.

    I have a question that I don't know. It seems like the hitters were dominant with huge offensive numbers up to 1938. Joe posted his monster year in his soph season of 1937, and was never again able to scale such majestic heights. I'd love to know why.

    Why couldn't Joe ever again post such monster numbers?

    Bill

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by [email protected] View Post
      Well, OK, then. Thank you for starting a Joe Request Line. Great idea.

      I have a question that I don't know. It seems like the hitters were dominant with huge offensive numbers up to 1938. Joe posted his monster year in his soph season of 1937, and was never again able to scale such majestic heights. I'd love to know why.

      Why couldn't Joe ever again post such monster numbers?

      Bill
      Good way to start off the ballgame, thanks.

      It seems like the main reason is that he just couldn't avoid a bad break near the end of the season. Joe was hitting .358 at the all-star break in '36. He played awfully for the Americans, going zero for five, and slipped in the grass going after a flyball that resulted in an extra base hit. He kept hitting for a period of time after that, but he finished off the season with a .240 average and only 8 extra base-hits in his final 25 games.

      In '38, the year he held out because of salary conflict up to the early portion of the season, he was hitting .341 coming into September. The fans were riding him all year, but it was less so because Joe was catching up to Foxx (.347 BA) in the batting race. Joe wanted a quick-fix, something to distract the fans and stop the booing, so he set out to win the batting race. But he was pressing. The Yankees had again clinched the pennant early, so most of the games were meaningless from a team standpoint, but Joe fell off, hitting around .270 in the final three or so weeks to plummet to .324. '39 was a different animal. Joe tore a ligament in his knee very early in the year, and missed a month of action. He came back with an inspired bat, torching the league in June and July, and in August, posted his most admirable month ever, hitting well over .400 with 14 homers and 53 RBI. He was hitting .408 coming into September, and hit homers in consecutive games to start off the final month. Then his eye became infected. Again, the Yankees clinched the pennant early, on the first of September. He couldn't see out of his left eye, his lead eye, and McCarthy was too proud to bench him. That year though, he was known almost as much with his glove as his bat. In front of me I have an expert from the book, DiMaggio; An Illustrated Life:

      With his average hovering close to .400, Joe was playing perhaps the best baseball of his career. He inadvertently became involved in a controversy when Tris Speaker, to whom DiMaggio was often compared, allegedly claimed there were fifteen outfielders in the major leagues he considered better than DiMaggio. While DiMaggio never commented on Speaker's outburst, his play in back-to-back games against Detroit provided an answer. In a 5-2 loss to the Tigers at the Stadium in August 1, DiMaggio kept the game close by recording a remarkable ten putouts, one short of the major league record. Arthur Patterson in the Herald Tribune wrote "Tris Speaker should have seen DiMaggio in Centerfield yesterday. He may not play in close enough to suit 'Old Spoke', but don't tell that to [Detroit batters] Averill, Higgins and Fox. He robbed each of a hit, coming in and going out." The next day, DiMaggio made a catch that many observers believe was the best of his career. With the Yankees behind 7-2 in the ninth inning and Mike Higgins on first, Hank Greenberg drove the ball high and deep to left center. Playing the left-handed Greenberg to pull, DiMaggio stood in right-center. At the crack of the bat, he took off on a full run toward the deepest part of Yankee Stadium. Higgins ran for home, thinking that DiMaggio didn't have a chance to catch the ball, and the slow-footed Greenberg later admitted "I figure it's going to hit the wall and maybe I can get an inside-the-park home run on it." DiMaggio glanced once at the ball and kept running. Just to the left of the monuments, behind the flagpole and in front of the "461" sign, he looked up, stretched out his glove, and somehow caught the ball. Greenberg was nearing second and Higgins was rounding third when DiMaggio made the catch. But DiMaggio lost track of the outs and started to trot toward home before he realized he had a chance for the double play. He threw the ball in, but Gordon's relay hit Higgins in the back and he made it back to first. Greenberg's description of the play indicates that DiMaggio ran over 200 feet for the ball, and those who saw both DiMaggio's catch and Willie May's famous snag in the 1954 World Series claim DiMaggio's was the better catch. Unlike May's catch, DiMaggio's grab was not captured on film, and exists only in the memory of those who saw it.
      I think Joe's most impressive year, at least to me, was 1948. He produced at an MVP level despite the various foot problems that hobbled him for the whole year (though he missed only one game.) Also led the league in homers, RBI, total bases, HR per AB, and was 2nd in RC and OPS+, 2nd in SLG, and 7th in OBP, and 7th in BA. In '41 it was him and Ted, with a comfortable drop-off after that. Interestingly enough, Joe hit in all of his spring training games in '41 (19 in total), and opened with a first-week rampage, hitting over .500 with 4 homers and 14 RBI in his first 8 games. He slumped horrendously for two weeks, and his average dropped a cool 200 points. After the hit streak, he hit over .330 with 10 homers in the remaining 57 games he played in that year (also spent two weeks on the disabled list.) In the 83 games outside of May 15 - July 17th, he hit .321/.424/.591 with 15 home runs and 70 RBI. He was, on a per-game basis, the best hitter in the league in '40, but he also missed 22 games with injuries. However, when you take ballpark and defense/baserunning into consideration, I believe he had an obvious case as MVP, perhaps maybe even should have won it over Greenberg, even though his Tigers won the pennant.

      So, while he never again equaled the impressive Triple Crown Stats he did in '37, he still held his own quite well, in a ballpark not exactly noted for it's generosity towards Right-handers. Hope that helped.
      Last edited by DiMag4Life; 02-16-2008, 12:22 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hank Greenberg drove the ball high and deep to left center. Playing the left-handed Greenberg to pull, DiMaggio stood in right-center. At the crack of the bat....

        I'll bet even Hank didn't know he was a switch hitter.

        If JoeD was playing Hank Greenburg in right-center he was waaaay outta position. This whole story sounds like DiMaggio worship.

        Yankees Fan Since 1957

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by DiMag4Life View Post
          So, while he never again equaled the impressive Triple Crown Stats he did in '37, he still held his own quite well, in a ballpark not exactly noted for it's generosity towards Right-handers. Hope that helped.
          Yes, that is a very detailed, nuanced answer. Thanks for that. But almost none of the other great hitters of the 1930's were able to duplicate their former monster numbers either, not just Joe. Prior to 1938, RBI numbers of over 150 were common, but rare after that.

          I thought it might be a change in the sacrifice fly rule, or the ball, or something like that. Foxx, Simmons, Gehringer, Greenberg, Joe D., Mize, Cronin, Dickey, Averill, Medwick, Vaughan, all saw their glory numbers plummet, permanently.

          The lone exception was Ted Williams. He alone was able to post monster numbers in the 1940's. Of course he didn't have his homepark disadvantage him like Joe did.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by yanks0714 View Post
            I'll bet even Hank didn't know he was a switch hitter.

            If JoeD was playing Hank Greenburg in right-center he was waaaay outta position.
            Hmmmm..... you seem to be right, the description is a bit off. Maybe it was meant the other way around, as in shading the rightie to right, rather than shading the leftie to left. Could've been so, but I'll try to get back to you on that.
            Last edited by DiMag4Life; 02-16-2008, 10:55 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by yanks0714 View Post
              Hank Greenberg drove the ball high and deep to left center. Playing the left-handed Greenberg to pull, DiMaggio stood in right-center. At the crack of the bat....

              I'll bet even Hank didn't know he was a switch hitter.

              If JoeD was playing Hank Greenburg in right-center he was waaaay outta position. This whole story sounds like DiMaggio worship.

              Sounds to me that the author of those words may not have known what he was talking about, who was it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by [email protected] View Post
                Yes, that is a very detailed, nuanced answer. Thanks for that. But almost none of the other great hitters of the 1930's were able to duplicate their former monster numbers either, not just Joe. Prior to 1938, RBI numbers of over 150 were common, but rare after that.

                I thought it might be a change in the sacrifice fly rule, or the ball, or something like that. Foxx, Simmons, Gehringer, Greenberg, Joe D., Mize, Cronin, Dickey, Averill, Medwick, Vaughan, all saw their glory numbers plummet, permanently.

                The lone exception was Ted Williams. He alone was able to post monster numbers in the 1940's. Of course he didn't have his homepark disadvantage him like Joe did.
                I guess I have to plead ignorance here, I'm not entirely sure. Perhaps it had something to do with the introduction of the nightgame.......?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                  Sounds to me that the author of those words may not have known what he was talking about, who was it.
                  It was written by Dick Johnson and Glen Stout.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've read players complain to sportswriters in the 1910s and in the 1920s how great, crowd awing plays were made by players who have to make extra effort to compensate for their own initial misjudgement. This is misjudgement covered up by writiers from the same city that loved so much to alter facts in order to bash Ty Cobb.

                    The next day, DiMaggio made a catch that many observers believe was the best of his career... Hank Greenberg drove the ball high and deep to left center. Playing the left-handed Greenberg to pull, DiMaggio stood in right-center... Higgins was rounding third when DiMaggio made the catch... But DiMaggio lost track of the outs and started to trot toward home before he realized he had a chance for the double play. He threw the ball in, but Gordon's relay hit Higgins in the back and he made it back to first...
                    Yeah, "Ole Spoke" would've been impressed. DiMaggio played one of the deepest CF ever and in this case, ran farther than Tris Speaker would've ever had to run playing up close. Also, Higgins batted at the bottom of the Tiger's lineup after Greenberg so, the account has some holes.

                    1939 Detroit Tiger Batting Order:

                    RF Pete Fox
                    CF Barney McCoskey
                    2B Charlie Gehringer
                    1B Hank Greenberg
                    LF Earl Averill
                    C Rudy York - Birdie Tebbetts
                    3B Pinky Higgins
                    SS Frank Croucher
                    P
                    Last edited by HDH; 02-16-2008, 08:01 PM.
                    In the 1920's, Harry Heilmann led the AL with a .364 average. In addition, he averaged 220 hits, 45 doubles, 12 triples, 16 homers, 110 runs, and 130 RBI.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HDH View Post
                      I've read players complain to sportswriters in the 1910s and in the 1920s how great, crowd awing plays were made by players who have to make extra effort to compensate for their own initial misjudgement. This is misjudgement covered up by writiers from the same city that loved so much to alter facts in order to bash Ty Cobb.
                      Again, to be fair, if the author made the mistake of saying "shading the lefty to left", assuming Greenberg was a lefty, how do you know he did not mean to say shading the "righty to right?"

                      The Cramer book (separate from the one that described the catch) also said that the Yankees gave Greenberg almost exclusively outside pitches..... if he did play him that way, that could've had something to do with it.
                      Higgins had rounded 3rd. Yeah, "Ole Spoke" would've been impressed. DiMaggio played one of the deepest CF ever and in this case, ran farther than Tris Speaker would've ever had to run playing up close.
                      There have been serious variations of how DiMaggio played Center. I think he did play a tad deeper than the average outfielder, but the Cramer book quoted Lefty Gomez as saying that Joe played too shallow, and even shallower when Gomez was pitching. And Gomez played with DiMaggio in his prime! He even included a story, where he said that, despite getting a great jump on the ball, lost a game for them by underestimating the power of Rudy York, who hit one to the largest part of the ballpark. Joe made it close, but it flew over his head for a triple, because he was playing too shallow.

                      But then again, a lot of other players who played with/against him were opposed to what Gomez had to say, so I'm inclined to call this a polarizing subject.
                      Last edited by DiMag4Life; 02-16-2008, 08:02 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So, we should completely ignore what the writer says and add what we think he meant to say, OK, I get it. Its NY.

                        This is the first time I ever heard that Joe DiMaggio played a shallow CF. I've always heard the opposite, that he played the deepest CF up to that time because he almost feared having the ball get past him and did not run back on balls well.
                        In the 1920's, Harry Heilmann led the AL with a .364 average. In addition, he averaged 220 hits, 45 doubles, 12 triples, 16 homers, 110 runs, and 130 RBI.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by HDH View Post
                          So, we should completely ignore what the writer says and add what we think he meant to say, OK, I get it. Its NY.
                          I'm saying, if he made the mistake of calling Greenberg a lefty, perhaps the field he described he was playing him was a result of that assumption; therefore, perhaps he had it the other way around.

                          And, again.... the Yankees pitched outside to Greenberg. If the writer was indeed describing the play correctly, then that actually means that DiMaggio should have been playing where he was playing, since they wanted Greenberg to pull to right-center by feeding him stuff away.
                          Last edited by DiMag4Life; 02-16-2008, 09:31 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HDH View Post
                            This is the first time I ever heard that Joe DiMaggio played a shallow CF. I've always heard the opposite, that he played the deepest CF up to that time because he almost feared having the ball get past him and did not run back on balls well.
                            I've heard he was conservative too. It is said he would let in a lot of blooper singles, but also cut off a good deal of gap-hits. I don't think the problem was going back on balls, he just didn't think the reward was worth the risk.

                            I'm not sure if Gomez was somehow quoted out of context, but that's what I remember reading in the book. I have the book in front of me, I'll try to find it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              --Lefty Gomez told a story about how a rookie DiMaggio was playing very shallow and Greenberg hit a ball over his head that he couldn't get back on. When Gomez asked DiMaggio why he was playing so shallow DiMaggio supposedly said "I'm going to make them forget Tris Speaker". Gomez reply was "if you keep playing Greenberg so shallow you'll make them forget Gomez". Whether that is true or just a Goofy Gomez tall tale is open to question. What is not in question is that DiMaggio was known to play a deep centerfield. So if that story is true then DiMaggio took the lesson to heart and changed his style.

                              Comment

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