On a night when the Yankees and Washington Senators played the first ever night game in Washington’s Griffith Stadium, DiMaggio led his team to a 6-5 victory. Three interesting notes about the lights that night: One, Griffith Stadium was now one of only four American League parks to boast electric lights. Two, the lights were turned on for the first time by a Walter Johnson fastball. The retired Senator threw the ceremonial first pitch through an electric beam projected across home plate; his third attempt lit up the night. Three, Washington officials needed special permission to fly the flag after sundown for the playing of the national anthem.
Once the game was underway, the Yankees found themselves trailing 3-1 in the eighth inning as a hitless DiMaggio came to the plate. He tripled deep to right to extend his streak and trigger a five-run Pinstripe rally. In addition to DiMaggio, Johnny Sturm and Frank Crosetti also kept their streaks alive, and DiMaggio’s string was mentioned in the press for the first time in the New York World-Telegram: “Last night’s battle saw all three hitting streaks on the Yankees continued. DiMaggio hit in his thirteenth consecutive contest. Sturm in his eleventh and Crosetti in his tenth.” The fact that a player of DiMaggio’s stature could get almost two weeks into a hitting streak without being noticed underscores a major reason why this record will never be threatened. In this era of media saturation and round-the-clock sports highlights, nothing escapes the public’s unquenchable thirst for information. It isn’t uncommon to hear a television or radio announcer make mention of a three-game hitting streak, and any time a player gets a run up to twenty games, not even half way to DiMaggio, he becomes the lead story on SportsCenter. Even in 1941 DiMaggio endured scrutiny as an entire nation followed his exploits during the latter stages of his streak, but the media crush surrounding a player approaching that record today would be stifling. The physical accomplishment of fifty-six is amazing; the mental strength required to get there would be even more impressive. It’ll never happen.