Womack: The second coming of Joe DiMaggio

From SABR member Graham Womack at The National Pastime Museum on February 12, 2016:

It was no sure thing when the San Francisco Seals sold Joe DiMaggio to the New York Yankees on November 21, 1934. The Yankees got an option to purchase DiMaggio from the Seals before the end of the 1935 season for $25,000 and five players to be named later, according to Richard Ben Cramer’s definitive DiMaggio biography, The Hero’s Life.

DiMaggio hit .340 with a 61-game hitting streak as an 18-year-old in the Pacific Coast League in 1933. But his stock plummeted after he twisted his knee stepping out of a cab in May 1934, missing the rest of the season. “Few clubs care to gamble on him right now because he severely injured a knee last Summer and nobody knows whether or when he will be whole again,” Tommy Holmes wrote on November 22, 1934, for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “But the Yankees can afford the gamble.”

Even as DiMaggio went on to a PCL MVP season in 1935, hitting .398 with 270 hits, newspapers of the day noted how the Yankees waited until just hours before the midnight deadline on September 10, 1935, to close the deal. The Sporting News devoted much of a December 26, 1935, story about the hype on DiMaggio to discussing Paul Strand, a PCL legend who flopped in the Majors.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/second-coming-joe-dimaggio

Originally published: February 12, 2016. Last Updated: February 12, 2016.