Harvey Frommer / Records & Feats / Yankees / Red Sox
Joe Dimaggio Show at Fenway Park: June 28-30, 1949
by Harvey Frommer
It was bitter rivalry time, again, Yanks versus Red Sox. The New Yorkers had a hold on first place; the Bostonians had won four straight, ten of their last 11.
Joe DiMaggio was returning to the baseball wars after missing 65 games because of a bone spur in his foot. Fenway was jammed with 36,228 for the Friday night three-game series opener on June 28th.
In his first American League at bat in eight months, DiMag faced Mickey McDermott. "He could throw hard," DiMaggio said. "My timing was off. I kept fouling pitch after pitch to right field. Then I lined a hit over shortstop. It felt good.
It felt even better for the Yankee centerfielder his second time up -- a two-run home run. The rabidly partisan Red Sox fans gave him a standing ovation.
"I don't think I was ever booed at Fenway," DiMag said. "The fans there always respected clean competition and good baseball."
With the Red Sox trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Joe DiMaggio hauled in an extra base bid by Ted Williams - the catch ended the Red Sox winning streak and broke the hearts of the Fenway faithful. The Yankee Clipper was back.
Game two on Saturday saw the Yanks down 7-1 after four innings. A DiMaggio three-run dinger sliced the Sox lead. Then in the eighth inning, it was DiMaggio again -- two run home run over the Green Monster. The Bronx Bombers had a 9-7 come-from-behind triumph.
"You can hate the Yankees," one sign read, "but you've got to love Joe DiMaggio!"
The third game on Sunday saw an SRO crowd in attendance. After seven innings in a tight battle, it was Yankees 3 and Red Sox 2. A three run smash by DiMaggio off the light tower gave the New Yorkers a 6-3 win and a sweep of the Sox.
It was truly the Joe DiMaggio show. He batted .455 in the three games, hit four home runs and a single, drove in nine runs. "I think," the Yankee Clipper said, "I was the most surprised guy in all of Boston."