October 14 2011
70 years ago. The summer of 1941. Young American men were being drafted for war. The nation was apprehensive. Yet for two months, America was captivated by Joe DiMaggio’s astonishing hitting streak -- the most resonant baseball achievement of all time.
In 56, Kostya Kennedy tells the remarkable story of how the streak found its way into countless lives, from the Italian kitchens of Newark to the playgrounds of Queens to the San Francisco streets; from the Oval Office of FDR to the Upper West Side apartment where Joe’s first wife, Dorothy, the movie starlet, was expecting a child. DiMaggio emerges in a new light, a 26-year-old on the cusp of becoming an icon. He comes alive -- a driven ballplayer, a mercurial star and a conflicted husband -- as the tension and the scrutiny upon him build with each passing day. DiMaggio’s feat lives as the greatest sports record.
Alongside the story of the dramatic quest, Kennedy examines the nature of hitting streaks and with an incisive, modern-day perspective gets inside the number itself, as its sheer improbability heightens the magic of 56 games in a row.
Kostya Kennedy, a senior editor at Sports Illustrated, writes on a wide range of subjects. Before joining SI, he was a staff writer at Newsday and contributed to The New York Times and The New Yorker. Kennedy earned an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, from which he received a Pulitzer Fellowship. He has taught in the graduate journalism programs at Columbia and at N.Y.U.