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#43 Greatest HR in Yankee History

October 15, 2012

Joltin’ Joe in 1949 (Out of the Park Baseball)

Joe DiMaggio | The Joe DiMaggio Show | vs. Boston Red Sox | 6/28–30/1949

The Yankees were up 4.5 games over the Philadelphia Athletics in the pennant race going into a 3-game set at Fenway Park.  Boston was tied for 3rd place in the American League with Detroit, but they had won ten of their last eleven games and were attempting to mount a comeback before the All-Star break.  DiMaggio missed the first 65 games of the 1949 season with a bone spur and the Friday night in Boston was his first contest in eight months.  In his first at bat since October 3, 1948, the Yankee Clipper stepped into the batter’s box to face Mickey McDermott.  “He could throw hard,” remembered DiMaggio.  “My timing was off. I kept fouling pitch after pitch to right field.”  Then he lined a base hit over the head of shortstop Vern Stephens.  In his second at bat of the season “Joltin’ Joe” cranked a 2-run homer, eliciting, for perhaps the first and only time in the history of Fenway Park, a standing ovation for a man in pinstripes.  In the bottom of the 9th inning with the Yankees clinging to a 5-4 lead DiMaggio ran down a sure extra-base hit by Teddy Ballgame to end the Red Sox rally, silencing the 36,228 on hand.

In the second game of the series on June 29th, DiMaggio singlehandedly brought the Yankees back from defeat.  Down 7-1 after four innings the Bombers must have thought they were in for a nightmarish day, until DiMaggio came up in the 5th inning with two men on and hit his second home run in as many days, cutting the defecit to 7-4.  DiMaggio’s heroics were not done as he came up in the 7th inning and crushed a 2-run home run en route to a 9-7 come-from-behind Yankee victory.

DiMaggio’s incredible series was still far from done as the Yankees sought a sweep of the Red Sox on Sunday, June 30th.  In the 8th inning the Yankees were holding fast to a 3-2 lead when DiMaggio sent a colossal blast off of a light tower for a 3-run home run, a power surge that carried the Bombers to a 6-3 victory.  In the incredible series simply remembered as “The Joe DiMaggio Show,” his first three games of the 1949 season, the Clipper batted .455, hit 4 home runs and drove in 9 runs.  It is perhaps the greatest individual performance in the 109 years of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry.

You can hate the Yankees, but you’ve got to love DiMaggio!

| A sign at Fenway Park |

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