Flashback: Joe DiMaggio's 1937 Season

Have you ever looked at Joe DiMaggio's Baseball Reference page? It is quite a sight to behold but there is one year that sticks out among the rest when you first take a look at it: 1937.

I knew Joe DiMaggio was good, all New York Yankee fans know that, but this particular season was more than good. The words that came to my mind were astonishing, astounding, wonderful, stupendous, marvelous, and startling.

I obviously was never able to watch DiMaggio play in person - my father did, lucky bastard. My first memories of Mr. DiMaggio were his Mr. Coffee commercials back in the 1970's but I knew all about him from my father and I knew he was a Yankee legend.

So let's take a look at Joe DiMaggio's 1937 Season, shall we?

Up first, his batting average: .346

Now, I know, batting average isn't the most important number anymore - and his other numbers will show you why I'm so impressed with this particular season but still, .346 is great.

Next, his on base percentage: .412

This number is nothing to sneeze at either considering DiMaggio's career OBP was .398. Getting on base over 40% of the time is considered very good and you want that in your number three hitter, especially when your number four hitter is Lou Gehrig.

Third, his slugging percentage (total bases/at bats - in this case 418/621): .673

DiMaggio averaged a .579 slugging percentage for his career and 1937 was his best year. He had 215 total hits, 35 doubles and 15 triples - I'll get to his home runs in a bit.

Next up, his OPS (on base + slugging): 1.085

DiMaggio actually surpassed this number in his MVP campaign of 1939 (his OPS that year was an astonishing 1.119) and came close to duplicating it in his record setting 1941 MVP campaign (1.083) but this number is what sets him apart from Charlie Gehringer of the Detroit Tigers (.978) who actually took home the MVP Award in 1937.

Gehringer, a Hall of Fame second baseman for the second place Tigers, led the American League in batting average (.371) and on base percentage (.458 ) but DiMaggio, in is second year in the bigs, surpassed Gehringer in every other category - DiMaggio finished with 46 home runs and 167 RBI while Gehringer ended his season with fourteen and 96 respectively.

Other fun numbers from DiMaggio's 1937 season:

  • 37 strikeouts
  • 64 walks
  • 151 games played

Joe DiMaggio may have just missed winning the MVP in 1937 but don't shed any tears for Joltin' Joe, he was able to capture the award in 1939, 1941 and 1947. He finished with a career line of .325/.398/.579/.977 and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1955, appearing on 223 out of 251 ballots.