Temperatures in New York were soaring toward triple digits as the Independence Day weekend approached. The weather wasn’t as hot as Joe DiMaggio.
The Yankees’ young superstar had started a hitting streak that had the nation talking. 30 straight games. Then 40. He’d broken the American League record and was taking aim at the all-time mark held by Wee Willie Keeler.
As a sparse weekday afternoon crowd of nearly 10,000 sweated along with the players on the field, DiMaggio came to bat in the fifth inning off Red Sox pitcher Dick Newsome, a 31-year-old rookie. What happened next is captured in the RMY Auctions Photo of the Day.
The 9×7” image originally distributed by Acme News service shows Joe D turning for the Yankee dugout as he crosses the plate following a three-run homer into the left field seats—extending his hitting streak to an all-time record 45 games in a row. DiMaggio, of course, wasn’t finished. He’d reach 56 before Cleveland finally shut him down later that month. The mark still stands and is considered one of the most unbreakable sports record of all time.
“I don’t know how far I can go, but I’m not going to worry about it now,” DiMaggio told reporters afterward. “I’m glad it’s over. It was quite a strain the last ten days. Now I can go back to swinging at good pitches. I was swinging at some bad ones so I wouldn’t be walked.”
The PSA-authenticated Type I photo is only part of the auction lot. Nine days after it was taken, Acme sent it to Ruth Bayline, who operated the Yankees switchboard and helped the team with other matters in a role that would today be labeled “administrative assistant.”
“Dear Miss Bayline: Please accept with our compliments
this photograph of Joe DiMaggio crossing the plate after breaking the record for hitting in consecutive games.”
The unique lot is among more than 1,000 up for bid in RMY’s March Premier Auction which is currently underway.