56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports

56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports

by Kostya Kennedy


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Winner of the 2011 CASEY Award from Spitball Magazine

Seventy baseball seasons ago, on a May afternoon at Yankee Stadium, Joe DiMaggio lined a hard single to leftfield. It was the quiet beginning to the most resonant baseball achievement of all time. Starting that day, the vaunted Yankee centerfielder kept on hitting-at least one hit in game after game after game.

In the summer of 1941, as Nazi forces moved relentlessly across Europe and young American men were drafted by the millions, it seemed only a matter of time before the U.S. went to war. The nation was apprehensive. Yet for two months in that tense summer, America was captivated by DiMaggio's astonishing hitting streak. In 56, Kostya Kennedy tells the remarkable story of how the streak found its way into countless lives, from the Italian kitchens of Newark to the playgrounds of Queens to the San Francisco streets of North Beach; from the Oval Office of FDR to the Upper West Side apartment where Joe's first wife, Dorothy, the movie starlet, was expecting a child. In this crisp, evocative narrative Joe DiMaggio emerges in a previously unseen light, a 26-year-old on the cusp of becoming an icon. He comes alive-a driven ballplayer, a mercurial star and a conflicted husband-as the tension and the scrutiny upon him build with each passing day.

DiMaggio's achievement lives on as the greatest of sports records. Alongside the story of DiMaggio's dramatic quest, Kennedy deftly examines the peculiar nature of hitting streaks and with an incisive, modern-day perspective gets inside the number itself, as its sheer improbability heightens both the math and the magic of 56 games in a row.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594688976
Publisher: Time Home Entertainment, Inc
Publication date: 03/06/2012
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 434,274
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kostya Kennedy is an assistant managing editor at Sports Illustrated and the New York Times bestselling author of 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports, winner of the 2011 Casey Award and runner-up for the 2012 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. He lives with his wife and children in Westchester County, N.Y. To learn more, visit kostyakennedy.com.

What People are Saying About This

Gay Talese

A wonderful book. And what may be the last word on a record that may last forever.

Bob Costas

56-the number alone still has meaning, but there is a compelling and textured story behind it, a story that pre- and postdates the summer of 1941. Kostya Kennedy tells that story beautifully.

Richard Ben Cramer

"Kostya Kennedy rescues The Streak from the numberish precinct of the record book and brings it back to the realm of drama which it dominated in 1941. He follows the ripples of DiMaggio's doings to the wide world beyond baseball and delivers to us a tale that's a delight." --(Richard Ben Cramer )

Roger Kahn

Kostya Kennedy's "56" is one fine book. It gracefully brings us back to that sunbright, terrifying year, 1941, just before the United States was plunged into World War II. And it does a splendid job of humanizing a gifted, headstrong and difficult man. Mr. Kennedy gives us DiMaggio through that great hitting streak until we can all but feel The Jolter's pride and passion for perfection. (Mr. Kennedy also throws in a gentle mini-portrait of that most ungentle character Pete Rose.)

Is the 56-game streak the most remarkable of baseball records? You can debate the matter at any sports bar. Beyond debate is that "56" is the best baseball book to appear in many a season.

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56 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And he did it without steroids. He did it without all the present day technology and exercises machines that help improve one's batting performance. He just went out and did it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gives an insight to the personal as well as the professional life
JSMReferee More than 1 year ago
Love this book as it chronicles not only "The Streak" but a great deal of DiMaggio & Yankee lore. I am a fan of both and loved the book. It is fair, well-written, and an easy read. I have read a lot of books over the years and many were books about or by sports figures. This might be the best in my opinion.
JNH More than 1 year ago
Very interesting reading and gives great perspective on how life was in the U.S. during the season that is highlighted. Well worth the time spent getting to know Joe DiMaggio and life in 1941.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Analysis of the streak and the propability of it happening again.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I luv ny yankeys