Early in the 1949 season the New York Yankees decided to honor their star player, Joe DiMaggio, on the next-to-last day of the season, October 1. The Yankees were scheduled to close out the season by playing the final two games against the Boston Red Sox. When the Red Sox arrived in New York, they held a one-game lead over the second place Yankees. The regular season would not end in a tie. The Yankees would have to win both games to be American League champions. On October 1, 1949, over 70,000 fans filled Yankee Stadium to honor Joe DiMaggio on his day. The ceremony lasted over one hour, then the Yankees had to win a do-or-die game. The Yankees won the game on Saturday and they won the second game on Sunday to claim the American League championship. They went on to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series, the first of five consecutive World Championships.