Tuesday marks the 80th anniversary of Joe DiMaggio's major league debut. He had three hits, including a triple, in a New York Yankees win over the St. Louis Browns on May 3, 1936.
Wrote the Associated Press that day: "The black-haired quiet lad who came up from the Pacific Coast heralded as the find of a decade, has been accepted into baseball's upper crust after a debut that was as impressive as his lavish advance notices."
DiMaggio was a part of baseball's "upper crust" every day of his major league career, which lasted until 1951 (with a three-year hiatus for military service). He remains a baseball icon to this day, 17 years after his death.
Here are a few nuggets you might know -- and a few you might not -- about the great career of The Yankee Clipper:
• The record for which DiMaggio is most known is his 56-game hitting streak in 1941. After going hitless against the Cleveland Indians to end the streak, he followed with another 16-game hitting streak, giving him an amazing run of a hit in 72 of 73 games. Over that stretch, he batted .408 with 120 hits, 20 home runs, 73 RBIs and only six strikeouts in 294 at-bats. He hit .357 for the championship Yankees that season and was the AL MVP.
• Since DiMaggio's hitting streak, only one player has gotten to within a dozen games of the mark: Pete Rose hit in 44 straight in 1978. No Yankees player has even reached 30 games since DiMaggio's streak.
• DiMaggio hit .325 in his career with 361 home runs and just 369 strikeouts. The next-fewest strikeouts by someone with at least 300 home runs is 414 (Yogi Berra, who hit 358 homers).
• DiMaggio's debut was the precursor to a stellar first year in the majors. During that 1936 season, DiMaggio hit .323 with 29 home runs and 125 RBIs in 138 games. His 132 runs scored still stands as the AL rookie record.
• As much as DiMaggio is regarded as a great hitter for average, he's a more prolific slugger than he's often given credit for. His .579 slugging percentage ranks 10th all time. He ranks better than a number of notable home-run hitters, including both Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Albert Pujols is close to catching DiMaggio, sitting four ten-thousandths of a point behind.
• DiMaggio was held to a .271 batting average in 51 World Series games. However, the Yankees went 9-1 in the 10 World Series in which DiMaggio played. DiMaggio's most memorable World Series hit was a game-winning home run against fellow future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts in the 10th inning of Game 2 of the 1950 World Series. The Yankees swept the Phillies in four games.
• DiMaggio was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955 on his third try, post-retirement. His numbers put him in legendary company. He's one of six players with at least 361 home runs and a .325 batting average. The others are Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial and Jimmie Foxx.