Joe DiMaggio was playing semi-pro ball when older brother Vince DiMaggio, playing for the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), talked his manager into letting DiMaggio fill in at shortstop. Joe DiMaggio made his professional debut on October 1, 1932.
From May 27 to July 25, 1933, he got at least one hit in a PCL-record 61 consecutive games: “Baseball didn’t really get into my blood until I knocked off that hitting streak. Getting a daily hit became more important to me than eating, drinking or sleeping.”
In 1934, his career almost ended. Going to his sister’s house for dinner, he tore ligaments in his left knee while stepping out of a jitney (shared taxi).
The Seals had hoped to sell DiMaggio’s contract for $100,000. Scout Bill Essick of the New York Yankees was convinced that DiMaggio could overcome his knee injury and pestered the club to give DiMaggio another look. After DiMaggio passed a test on his knee, he was bought on November 21 in exchange for $50,000 and five players, with the Seals keeping him for the 1935 season. He batted .398 with 154 runs batted in (RBIs) and 34 home runs, led the Seals to the 1935 PCL title, and was named the League’s Most Valuable Player.