Turbow: When will you come, Joe DiMaggio?

From SABR member Jason Turbow at The National Pastime Museum on August 15, 2016:

Ted Williams, popular theory holds, would have threatened Babe Ruth’s home run record had he not missed nearly five full seasons over two stints’ worth of military service during the prime of his career. It’s the lead topic in an endless game of What if?, wherein one estimates the numbers a player would have put up had his Major League attendance never been compromised.

Willie Mays has a similar claim, having missed almost two seasons of his own. Stan Musial missed one, while Hank Greenberg and Bob Feller were absent from the big leagues for almost four years each.

Joe DiMaggio was also among their ranks, serving with the U.S. Army during WWII, from 1943 to 1945. His story, however, contains an additional wrinkle. Not only was DiMaggio deprived of three prime seasons from age 28 to 30, but in far less notable fashion he also missed out on one when he was 20, for decidedly non-military reasons.

DiMaggio was almost fully formed by the time he reached the Yankees as a 21-year-old in 1936, batting .323 with 206 hits, 29 homers, and 125 RBIs. There’s good reason for that: He should have been called up far sooner. In some ways, DiMaggio was too talented for his own good.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/when-will-you-come-joe-dimaggio

Originally published: August 15, 2016. Last Updated: August 15, 2016.