Review: The Unforgettable Season: The Story of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and the Record-Setting Summer of ’41

Bildner, Phil. The Unforgettable Season: The Story of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and the Record-Setting Summer of ’41. Illustrated by S. D. Schindler. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011.

Numbers and stats are important to sports fans, and perhaps no numbers are more remarkable than those records set by Joe DiMaggio, aka the “Yankee Clipper,” and Boston’s “Splendid Splinter,” Ted Williams. That summer saw the two gifted athletes eclipse their peers by setting records that still stand over 70 years later. Yankee fans watched eagerly as DiMaggio hit safely in game after game, and tension built as he neared George Sisler’s record of 41 games. It was a record that had stood since 1922, a record many doubted would ever be broken. “Joltin’ Joe” didn’t just break the record… he shattered it, hitting safely in an unbelievable 56 straight games. Simultaneously, Red Sox fans were cheering as Williams put on an amazing hitting display, batting above .400 for almost all summer and entering the final day of the season with a batting average of .39955. The record books round to three digits, and Red Sox manager Joe Cronin offered to let Williams sit out the game so he would be guaranteed to end the year with an official .400 average. Ted’s refusal to take the easy way out is part of baseball mythology. His six hits on the last day brought his average to .406 and cemented his place in baseball lore as “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived.”

Bindler’s love for the game and reverence for these two classic players is evident in this homage to greatness. But it doesn’t take a baseball fan to recognize the character and determination exemplified by DiMaggio and Williams and to enjoy the tale of their incredible season. This one is “out of the park!”

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About kstreet245

I'm a teacher librarian with Norman Public Schools and adjunct instructor for children's literature at the University of Oklahoma School of Library and Information Studies. I've been married to Ken since 1975, and we have two wonderful children, both married. We have no grandchildren, but instead are "owned" by three dachshunds. We are active members of Country Estates Baptist Church in Midwest City, OK, teaching Sunday School, playing handbells, keyboards, and percussion, and singing in the choir. I enjoy reading, crafts, travel, and nice, long naps when I can work them in!
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