Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Salute to the 15 Greatest U.S. Armed Forces Veteran MLB Players

Memorial Day Weekend Series- Part 11 of 16

No. 6 Joe DiMaggio

A three-time MVP and 13-time All-Star, Joe DiMaggio was one of the most revered players in the history of the game. Playing a starring role in the Big Apple on a perennial Yankees powerhouse team along with a high profile marriage to Marilyn Monroe surely kept in the limelight.

At the peak of his brilliant career, DiMaggio enlisted in the United States Army Air Force and served from 1943-1946. He returned to the ball field and an adoring nation, with perhaps a little bit less magic than he displayed prior to his tour of duty.

"The Yankee Clipper" was known as an excellent center fielder capable of roaming the vast Yankee Stadium territory— with the arm necessary to gun down runners on the base paths. He collected 20 or more assists three different seasons and usually placed at the top of league rankings.

DiMaggio and winning became synonymous. In his first four seasons, the Bronx Bombers emerged as World Series Champions and were victorious nine of his 13 campaigns.

One of his most amazing feats— a 56-game hitting streak— still stands as a Major League record. Overall, DiMaggio batted .325 in his career and ranks high in many categories, but his sacrifice to serve his country during his prime playing days likely prevented him from dominating the top 10 places.

His second big league season may have been his greatest when he smacked 46 HRs, 167 RBI, batted .346, and complied a .673 slugging percentage. Two seasons later, DiMaggio hit a career high .381 with an amazing 1.119 OPS to earn his first MVP.


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