American baseball player, born in Martinez, California. One of the most charismatic of 20th-century sports figures, ?Joltin' Joe? joined the New York Yankees of the American League in 1936 and quickly rose to stardom, winning the batting title with a .381 average in his fourth season. In his relatively brief 13-year career (he lost three seasons to World War II), he became the celebrated epitome of grace and humility. In 1939 he was the major league Player of the Year, and in 1941 the ?Yankee Clipper? established a legendary record by hitting safely in 56 consecutive games. He retired in 1951 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. His quiet heroics and later marriage to Marilyn Monroe kept him an enduring icon of popular culture.
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