This day in sports: Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak comes to an end

New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio lines a single to left field during a game against Washington in June 1941.
(Associated Press)

Joe DiMaggio’s record-breaking hitting streak of 56 games comes to an end on this date in 1941 when he goes hitless in four at-bats in front of a crowd of 67,468 in Cleveland, the largest to attend a Major League night game.

DiMaggio is turned away by two Indians pitchers — Al Smith and Jim Bagby, who combine to retire him three times and walk him on a fourth — and by third baseman Ken Keltner, who makes two sensational fielding plays in the first and seventh innings.

In his last try to keep the streak going, the Yankees slugger hits into a double play with the bases loaded, ending the run that started May 15 against the Chicago White Sox.

After the game, which New York wins 4-3, DiMaggio said, “I can’t say I’m glad it’s over. Of course I wanted to go on as long as I could.” He then got a hit in the next 16 games.

Other memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

The Angels’ Matt Thaiss tested positive for the coronavirus last month and, despite being asymptomatic, says the experience was “mentally defeating.”

1966 — Jim Ryun is the first American runner to hold the world record in the mile since 1937 when he runs each of the race’s four laps under 60 seconds and records a mile time of 3 minutes 51.3 seconds in a meet at Berkeley. Ryun shatters the record held by France’s Michel Jazy of 3:53.6, set in 1965, by more than two seconds.

1974 — Bob Gibson of the Cardinals strikes out Cesar Geronimo of the Cincinnati Reds swinging in the second inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis to become the first pitcher since Walter Johnson, nearly 51 years earlier, to record 3,000 career strikeouts. In his 17-year career, all with the Cardinals, Gibson strikes out 3,117 hitters.


1979 Sebastian Coe of England breaks the world record in the mile in a time of 3:48.95 in at meet at Bislet Stadium in Oslo. The 22-year-old economics graduate from Loughborough University is electronically timed and, under international rules for records, such times are rounded upward to the nearest 10th of a second, making the mark 3:49.0. John Walker of New Zealand, who held the previous record of 3:49.4, finishes sixth.

1983 Bobby Hebert passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Michigan Panthers to a 24-22 win over the Philadelphia Stars in the first U.S. Football League championship game. Hebert hits wide receiver Anthony Carter on a 48-yard touchdown play with 3:11 left that seals the win for the Panthers at Mile High Stadium in Denver.

1983 Tom Watson wins his second straight and fifth British Open when he shoots a nine-under par 275 at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England, to finish one stroke ahead of fellow Americans Andy Bean and Hale Irwin. Watson, 33, lifts the Claret Jug again after shooting a 34 on the back nine, a score that includes three birdies and no bogeys.

2005 Two days after Jack Nicklaus bids farewell on the Swilcan Bridge to St. Andrews and the British Open, Tiger Woods records another brilliant performance at the Old Course when he closes the final round of the Open with a two-under-par 70 to win his 10th major championship. That put him eight behind Nicklaus’ record of 18. Woods shoots a 14-under par 274 to win by five shots, the largest margin in any major since he won at St. Andrews by eight strokes five years earlier.

2011 — Japan stuns the United States in a riveting Women’s World Cup final at Frankfurt, Germany, winning 3-1 on penalty kicks after coming from behind twice — once in regulation and the other in overtime — in a 2-2 tie. Goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori makes two outstanding saves on Shannon Boxx and Tobin Heath in the shootout. Saki Kumagai puts her kick past U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo in the fourth round to end the match.

2015 — Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba powers her way down the stretch and sets a world record in the women’s 1,500 meters at an international meet in Monaco, crossing the finish line in 3:50.07. Dibaba erases the lmark of 3:50.46 set by China’s Qu Yunxia in 1993. Dibaba punctuates her effort by running the final 400-meter lap in 59.79 seconds.

2018 — Liz Cambage scores a WNBA single-game record 53 points to help the Dallas Wings beat the New York Liberty 104-87. Cambage, a 6-8 center from Australia, hits a wide-open three-point jumper with 44 seconds to go that breaks the record of 51 points set by Riquna Williams on Sept. 8, 2013.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press