Yankees Top Moments: (#4) DiMaggio's 56th vs. (#5) Ruth's 60th

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Which record-setting feat by a Yankees legend was the most impressive moment?

Pinstripe Alley kicks off our Yankees Top Moments Tournament by going back to the very beginning in the Founding to 1959 bracket. Vote in the poll below for which moment you think deserves to advance to the next round.

(#4) DiMaggio strings together 56

Joe DiMaggio's 56 consecutive games with a hit wasn't ultimately the most impressive feat of the season- during DiMaggio's streak he went 91 for 223, a .408 average- and that same season Ted Williams hit .406 for season. But .400 didn't captivate the nation the way 56 did. Why? DiMaggio brought a nearly unprecedented blend of power, speed and bat control to the plate.

Here's the list of players with more home runs than Joe D.'s 361 and a lower strikeout rate:

For fun, here's the list of players in baseball history with fewer strikeouts and 200 home runs:

DiMaggio set the record on July 2, 1941 with a homer against Boston's Dick Newsome, moving past Willie Keeler's 44-game hitting streak from 1897. He then pushed the streak to 56 two weeks later after the All-Star break by singling off of the Indians' Al Milnar on July 16th in Cleveland. A couple great plays by third baseman Ken Keltner ended the streak the next day, but DiMaggio's amazing feat has stood the test of time.

For records? Ruth's 60 home runs would stand for 34 years. Ty Cobb's hits record stood for 60 years. DiMaggio's hitting streak is 72 years old and as strikeouts rise, seems safer each season. The second longest streak in MLB history aside from Keeler belongs to Pete Rose- at 44 games, Rose was only three-quarters of the way through DiMaggio's 56.

(#5) Ruth clubs his 60th

We could populate an entire blog with Babe Ruth stories, but of all the numbers he put up in his career, what was bigger than #60? He was the biggest star of his era, the engine that drove Murderer's Row. In that 1927 season, at age 32, he broke his own home run record (59, set in 1921) for the fourth time, finishing the job by founding the 60-homer club against the Senators' Tom Zachary on September 29, 1927. It's easy to look down on 60 now, which has been bested seven times since '27. Sixty seems easy to disregard on its own, because it's just 60. But context is important.
Look:
  • in 1927, no American League team hit 60 homers besides the Yankees- who hit 158; 60 from Ruth, 47 from Gehrig, 18 from Lazzeri, and 33 from the rest of the team.
  • before the start of the 1927, there were only 77 players who had ever hit 60 homers in their careers
  • in 1927, Babe Ruth was already the all time home run record holder with 150 HR lead over #2 Cy Williams
  • in 1927, Babe Ruth increased his personal home run total by a staggering 15%

The Yankees won the division by 20 games. They swept the Pirates in the World Series. They dominated baseball, and Babe Ruth dominated the Yankees.

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