Today, Nov. 25, 2014, would have marked Joe DiMaggio’s 100th birthday if the Yankee great were still alive. While happy birthday wishes have been sent out on Twitter and Instagram, there has also been one unruly word describing the Yankee Clipper’s career: Overrated.
DiMaggio didn’t have 3,000 hits, he didn’t hit 500 home runs, he didn’t have an abundant amount of steals for someone that was heralded for his speed. He also didn’t have his age 28, 29, and 30 seasons, when most players are in their prime of their careers. Instead of playing a game, DiMaggio was defending our country during World War II for three years.
Looking at his season averages, let’s look at what DiMaggio could have had instead of what he didn’t have. For his career, DiMaggio averaged 28 home runs, 118 RBI, 107 runs, 10 triples, 30 doubles, and 170 hits when the season was only 154 games long. Adding all those averages for his three years lost, DiMaggio could have hit 84 more home runs, produced 354 more RBI and 321 runs, 30 triples, 90 doubles, and 510 hits.
Through these averages, if DiMaggio had his age 28 through 30 seasons, he could have wound up playing 16 seasons, while racking up 2,724 hits, 445 home runs, 161 triples, 479 doubles, 1,891 RBI, and 1,711 runs. JAWS, which calculates a seven-year peak WAR number, concludes DiMaggio to be the sixth greatest center fielder in baseball history. The Yankee was an All-Star every single year he played, and instead of ever labeling him as overrated, let’s see DiMaggio as a graceful superstar, who lost his peak years defending our country.