Review

56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports

by Kostya Kennedy

This year marks the 70th anniversary of one of the sports records considered to be unbreakable: Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak.

It would be easy enough to rely on the old standard of writing a bit about each game as the Yankee Clipper makes his way into the history books. But Kostya Kennedy, a writer for Sports Illustrated, takes a more traditional approach with 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports.

Kennedy gives a real sense of the tension as “The Streak” begins modestly before building momentum until it was no longer just a source of interest for baseball fans, but for the whole country.It would be easy enough to rely on the old standard of writing a bit about each game as the Yankee Clipper makes his way into the history books. But Kennedy, a writer for Sports Illustrated, gives a real sense of the tension as “The Streak” begins modestly before building momentum until it was no longer just a source of interest for baseball fans, but for the whole country. Back in the day --- before television was even available for mass production --- radio and newspapers were the only source for news. “What did DiMaggio do today?” neighbors and co-workers would ask. “Did he get another hit?” Nowadays, if a batter makes it to 25 games, the spotlight shines constantly, with at-bat by at-bat coverage.

For all the drama Kennedy puts forth, once DiMaggio bettered the previous record of 44 games set by Wee Willie Keeler, everything that followed was just a matter of curiosity, since regardless of what would happen, he would own the new mark. The author also provides “interchapter” issues that may prove illuminating or distracting, depending on the reader's point of view as he interviews contemporary players for their opinions and statisticians to determine the odds on such a streak.

56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports
by Kostya Kennedy

  • Publication Date: March 8, 2011
  • Genres: Baseball, Sports
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Sports Illustrated
  • ISBN-10: 1603201777
  • ISBN-13: 9781603201773