The Unforgettable Season: Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and the Record-Setting Summer of1941


Witness the incredible record-breaking season of 1941!

At the start of the 1941 baseball season, neither Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees nor Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox were beloved by baseball fans. But all that changed when Joe started a 56-game hitting streak and Ted’s batting average rose to over .400. Despite the challenges along the way, the records set by these two baseball icons still live on today.

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Witness the incredible record-breaking season of 1941!

At the start of the 1941 baseball season, neither Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees nor Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox were beloved by baseball fans. But all that changed when Joe started a 56-game hitting streak and Ted’s batting average rose to over .400. Despite the challenges along the way, the records set by these two baseball icons still live on today.

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Editorial Reviews

Abby McGanney Nolan
…an engaging, well-illustrated chronicle of 70-year-old hitting milestones that remain unbroken…Schindler's clean-lined illustrations bring to mind the pristine clarity of the baseball field…
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In a narrative that's conversational yet informative, Bildner dives into the baseball season of 1941, alternately focusing on Yankee slugger DiMaggio, who had a 56-game hitting streak, and Red Sox star Williams, who ended the season with a batting average of .406. Bildner builds suspense with taut descriptions of critical on-field moments ("...on that warm spring afternoon in the Bronx, the Streak began"), while Schindler's paintings capture the ballpark energy, with authentic period details and solid likenesses of DiMaggio, Williams, and other players. Bildner and Schindler effectively evoke the baseball fever ignited by these two performances, which established records that have yet to be broken—a fact that makes this story all the more satisfying. Ages 7–9. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—This warm tribute recounts the achievements of baseball greats DiMaggio and Williams in the 1941 season. Bildner emphasizes their sportsmanship and hails their work ethic and grace under pressure. DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak inspired songs and was followed by fans everywhere; when it came to an end, the Yankee Clipper noted that he was not happy, but relieved. And Williams chose to play on the final day of the season, even though it jeopardized his chance to keep his average above the .400 mark. Fans will relish the number of facts sprinkled throughout. Joe's younger brother, Dominic, makes an appearance: a baseball great in his own right, he was a Red Sox teammate and friend of Williams. Schindler's pen, ink, and gouache illustrations ably complement the text, and the book sports a handsome, retro look with lots of white space around the text and oversize illustrations. In an author's note, Bildner describes records set by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Hank Aaron, and observes: "you never know when a player just might start a quest to bat .400 or begin a record-breaking hitting streak." This winning picture book should be welcomed by baseball enthusiasts everywhere. Even non-sports fans will appreciate how Bildner and Schindler weave period details into this engaging account of one remarkable season.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
One of the joys of baseball is its intergenerational appeal. Parents and grandparents pass on tales of special games and players, and today's young fans will do the same; thus, the heroes of the past and their exploits live on. The 1941 season was especially memorable because of the amazing accomplishments of two of the greatest players of all time. That was the year the Yankees' Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games and Boston's Ted Williams had a season batting average of .406. Alternating between the two stories, Bildner narrates the tale with breathless enthusiasm, capturing the excitement that swept the nation, while cleverly incorporating facts, statistics, highlights of the games and insights into the players' personalities. Modern fans are reminded of more recent players who attempted to break these records and of other records already shattered (Barry Bonds is conspicuously absent from the discussion of the lifetime homerun record). Schindler's soft, detailed ink, watercolor and gouache illustrations perfectly complement the text as they capture the mood and time period along with the action. Will there ever be such a season again? Wait 'til next year. Batter up! (Picture book. 6-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780147510556
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 3/6/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 607,016
  • Age range: 7 years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

A lifelong Mets fan, Phil Bildner still has a hard time believing he actually penned a book about the New York Yankees. He wrote much of the text while sitting in his old Shea Stadium seats, which are now by his television his Brooklyn apartment. A former New York City middle school teacher, Phil is also the author of The Greatest Game ever Played, Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy, winner of the Texas Bluebonnet Award, as well as co-author with Loren Long of the New York Times bestselling Sluggers series.

Visit him online at

S. D. Schindler has illustrated numerous picture books, including The Snow Globe Family by Jane O’Connor and ALA Notable books The Story of Salt and the The Cod’s Tale, both by Mark Kurlansky. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Visit him online at

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