On July 16, 1941, Joe DiMaggio stepped to the plate with history on his side. He had already hit safely in 55 consecutive games, winning over folks all over America that hungered for a good story to follow over the long summer. On that day, in the middle of Cleveland's Municipal Stadium, he set out to stretch that iconic streak to 56.
Al Milnar had already seen his outfield get him out of trouble, catching flyballs from Johnny Sturm and
Red Rolfe. After Milnar walked Tommy Henrich, Joltin' Joe stepped to the plate and promptly hit a single to center field. With that, he had hit in his 56th straight game.
The first inning came and went with the Yankees going up 2-1, but by the third, the Indians had tied the game two-all. Up to the plate stepped DiMaggio with the Yankees already sporting an out after Henrich's fly ball was caught for an out. Again, Al Milnar fell victim to Joltin' Joe's splendid swing and could only watch as the little white ball that he tried to zip past DiMaggio's bat plopped behind him in center field.
While the Yankees merely led by one, the fifth inning prove to be Cleveland's undoing. But before Milnar could give up four runs in that fateful inning, he chose to walk DiMaggio, unwilling to give him another single. Two innings later, Joe Krakauskas managed to get the greatest player of his generation out, forcing a groundout at the top of the seventh. Joe DiMaggio got his revenge two innings later, hitting a double off of Kakauskas at the top of the ninth and eventually scoring the final of New York's 10 runs that afternoon, his third score in an afternoon where he hit three of four. The Yankees won the game 10-3 over their rivals.
Like anything good in this life, nothing last forever, not even a historic hitting streak. Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak died the following afternoon in Cleveland. To this day, no player has come within shouting distance of his iconic 56-game hitting streak.