An Illustrated Life
by Dick Johnson and Glenn Stout
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The Yankee lead held as Ernie Bonham went the distance, giving New York the Series in five games. Joe Gordon was the acknowledged star, hitting .500 and driving in five runs. DiMaggio hit only .263, scoring only once and knocking in a single run, yet his contribution was significant. Joe's hit after Casey's failure to cover the bag in game three plated the Yanks' first run in the 2-1 win, and it was DiMaggio who first took advantage of Owen's error in game four. It was a typical DiMaggio World Series performance, with typical results. The Yankees won.
After such a remarkable year, the off-season provided DiMaggio more good fortune. On October 23, Dorothy gave birth to a son, Joe Jr. Three weeks later, DiMaggio learned that for the second time he had been selected by the Base Ball Writers of America as the American League's Most Valuable Player.
DiMaggio was named on all twenty-four ballots and outpolled Boston's Ted Williams, collecting fifteen first-place votes and 291 points to eight first-place votes for Williams and 254 points. In retrospect, some have questioned the wisdom of the balloting, as Williams's .406 batting average has increased in stature, making DiMaggio's hitting streak seem a little less amazing. But hitting .400 was not quite the rarity in 1941 that it is today. Although Williams was the first man to bat over .400 since Bill Terry in 1930, eleven league leaders had hit .360 or better in the ensuing ten seasons. Tbree, including DiMaggio, had bettered .380. DiMaggio's contributions to the Yankee pennant were far more significant in the voters' minds than Williams's individual achievement for a team that finished only 84-70.
When the 1941 season began, it appeared as if Joe DiMaggio had done just about everything there was to do in the game of baseball. Somehow, he managed to do even more.
From DiMaggio: An Illustrated Life by Dick Johnson and Glenn Stout.
text Copyright © 1995 by Glenn Stout. Reprinted with permission.