Joe DiMaggio hit .342 against fellow Hall of Famer Bob Feller.  Bettmann/Getty Images

May 23 in sports history: Joe D dominates that Feller fella

Here's a look back at notable sports news on May 23 through the years:


1948: The first number that comes to mind regarding Joe DiMaggio is 56, as in his MLB-record 56-game hitting streak. But No. 3 kept popping up during Joltin' Joe's Hall of Fame career. 

On this day 72 years ago, DiMaggio hit three consecutive home runs — the first two off fellow Hall of Famer Bob Feller — to lead the Yankees to a 6-5 win over Cleveland in the opener of a doubleheader.

"I hit three once before," DiMaggio said. "It was so long ago, I don't remember the other team. I know it wasn't Cleveland though."

DiMaggio was right. His first three-homer game was in St. Louis on June 13, 1937 — the nightcap of a doubleheader that was ruled an 8-8 tie after 11 innings. But since good things seemed to come in threes for DiMaggio, he added another game with three blasts on Sept. 10, 1950, when the Yanks stomped the Senators, 8-1.

Joltin' Joe's second home run against Feller, by the way, apparently was a 465-foot blast.

"That would be the longest ball I've ever hit in the majors," said DiMaggio, who went 4-for-4 with six RBI and three runs scored. "I had one over 475 (feet) in an exhibition game, but that wasn't against Feller."

Apparently, DiMaggio's success against Feller was no fluke. His .342 career average against him ranked third against pitchers he faced at least 100 times, according to cleveland.com.

DiMaggio would hit 361 home runs in his 13-year career with the Yankees but lost three seasons while serving in the military during World War II. However, before he retired in 1951, he won the AL MVP — you guessed it — three times.


Coverage in the New York Daily News of Joe Pepitone's huge game.

1962: Joe Pepitone hit two home runs in the nine-run eighth inning of the Yankees' 13-7 victory over the Kansas City A's.

Pepitone became the second Yankee to achieve the feat, following DiMaggio, who hit two blasts in the fifth inning of an 18-11 win over the White Sox in 1936. Alex Rodriguez — who turned the trick twice — and Cliff Johnson are the other Yankees who have gone yard twice in the same frame.

Not only do Pepitone and DiMaggio have this date and playing for the Yankees in common, but they also are two of the 56 MLB players who have hit two home runs in an inning. 

GREEN DAY

2002: Shawn Green had a great week at the plate all in one day.

The Dodgers slugger became the 14th player in MLB history to homer four times in a game and set a big-league record with 19 total bases in L.A.'s 16-3 victory in Milwaukee.

Green went 6-for-6 — adding a double and a single — with seven RBI, and he scored six runs. He's the only player in MLB history to have a 6-for-6 day that included four home runs.

"That day, and that week, I had a very calm sense of being in the zone," Green told mlb.com's Ken Gurnick. "As opposed to other times, when you're in the zone and you almost start pressing because you don't want to waste that great feeling you have. When that happens, in some ways you feel more pressure when you're in that zone. But for that week, I was just very relaxed. Everything slowed down. All the cliches."

Since Green's big day, four other players have hit four blasts in a game: Carlos Delgado of the Blue Jays (2003), Josh Hamilton of the Rangers (2012), Scooter Gennett of the Reds (2017) and J.D. Martinez of the D-backs (2017).

"A friend of mine texted me, saying it must be nice every time somebody has three home runs in a game to be remembered," said Green, who hit a Dodgers-record 49 home runs in 2011. "It's true. It's nice to be thought of a couple of times a year, especially when it's a Dodger, and a left-handed hitter at that."


Coverage in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of the Joe Louis' controversial win over Buddy Baer.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS

1941: Joe Louis beat Buddy Baer on a seventh-round disqualification to win the world heavyweight boxing title in Washington, D.C. Baer was disqualified because he and his manager argued with the ref over whether Louis should be deducted points for a late hit in the sixth round.

1991: Phillies right-hander Tommy Greene struck out out 10 and walked seven as he no-hit the Expos in Montreal, 2-0.

2013: The Colorado Avalanche named Patrick Roy their head coach. Roy won the Stanley Cup with the team in 1996 and 2001.

"This is an unbelievable day for me," said the legendary goaltender, who also won Stanley Cups with the Canadiens in 1986 and 1993. "It's a new and exciting challenge that I am really looking forward to."

Unfortunately for Roy, the honeymoon didn't last long, as he resigned on Aug. 11, 2016, after going 130-92-24 in three seasons with Colorado. He won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's Coach of the Year after leading the Avalanche to 112 points and the Central Division title in 2013-14, but Colorado missed the playoffs the next two seasons.

Roy remains the only three-time winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy and is the only player in NHL history to win the award with more than one team.

2018: NFL owners approved a new policy that would require all players to stand during the national anthem or be given the option to stay in the locker room during its rendition.

2018: The Washington Capitals reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1998 by blanking the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-0, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. They went on to beat the Las Vegas Knights to win their first Stanley Cup.

GIFT BASKETS

1976: Behind 25 points and 21 rebounds from Dave Cowens, the Celtics opened the Finals with a 98-87 win over the Phoenix Suns.

1978: A year after leading the Trail Blazers to their only championship, Bill Walton was named NBA MVP for the 1977-78 season. Despite missing 24 regular-season games with multiple foot injuries, Walton averaged 18.9 points and 13.2 rebounds to bring home the hardware.

1982: With Andrew "The Boston Strangler" Toney and Julius Erving combining for 63 points, the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Celtics, 120-106, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Lakers would beat the Sixers in six games in the NBA Finals.

Happy birthday...

  • Australian tennis player John Newcombe, who won seven Grand Slam singles titles and 17 Grand Slam doubles titles. Ranked No. 1 in the world in both singles and doubles at one point in his career, Newcombe might be best remembered as George W. Bush's drinking buddy the night the former president was charged with a DUI 44 years ago. (76)
  • Boxing Hall of Famer "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler, who was the undisputed welterweight champion between 1980 and 1987. He was 62-3-2 in 67 career fights. (66)
  • Buck Showalter, three-time AL Manager of the Year who went 1,551-1,517 in 20 seasons as a big-league skipper and led the Diamondbacks to their first postseason appearance, in 1999. (64)
  • Two-time All-Star pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, who shared the NL lead — with St. Louis' Adam Wainwright — with 19 wins in 2013. Currently with the Tigers, he tossed the first no-hitter in Nationals history and once struck out the side on nine pitches. (34)
  • Pro golfer Morgan Pressel, who qualified for the 2001 U.S. Women's Open as a 12-year-old in 2001. Six years later, she captured the Kraft Nabisco Championship to become the youngest player to win a major on the LPGA Tour. (32)
  • Aaron Donald, two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year who was a first-round pick of the Rams in 2014. The six-time Pro Bowler is also a five-time First Team All-Pro. (29)

R.I.P.

2002: Golf Hall of Famer Sam Snead, who won seven majors and is tied with Tiger Woods for the all-time lead with 82 PGA victories. "Slammin' " Sam captured the Masters three times (1949, '52, '54) and the PGA Championship three times (1942, '49, '51) and won the 1946 British Open. He died of a stroke. He was 89.

2010: Jose Lima, an All-Star pitcher for the Houston Astros in 1999. The right-hander would pitch for five teams over his 13-year MLB career, during which he would engage in "Lima Time," mound histrionics that would entertain fans and enrage opponents. He died of a heart attack. He was 37.

2017: Defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who spent his entire 11-year Hall of Fame career with the Seahawks. Selected by Seattle with the third pick of the 1990 NFL Draft, the eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time All Pro was the 1992 Defensive Player of the Year, when he had 14 sacks for the 2-14 Seahawks. He died of heart disease, pneumonia and diabetes. He was 48. 


May 22: In an ugly game, MJ was lousy

A deputy editor for Yardbarker since February 2019, Stan Chrapowicki also has written for the New York Daily News, New York Post and saturdaydownsouth.com. Too young to witness Super Bowl III, he hopes to see the Jets win the Vince Lombardi Trophy before it’s too late.

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