On Dizzy Dean's birthday, we recount 4 colorful stories from his Hall of Fame career
Dizzy Dean would've been 105 years old on Friday. The right-hander had a spectacular, albeit, injury-shortened career. From 1932-'36, he led the league in wins (twice), shutouts (twice), complete games (three times) and strikeouts (four times). His 30 wins nabbed him an MVP Award in 1934. He tallied 24 victories and a league-leading 11 saves in 1936. He had eight homers and 76 RBIs in 766 plate appearances. He could do it all.
So, in honor of his big day, let's recount four memorable stories from his Hall of Fame career.
4.) "If I'd known you were gonna throw a no-hitter, I'd-a throw'ed one, too"
Dizzy and his younger brother, Daffy, (no, this is not the beginning of some Seven Dwarfs sequel) both pitched for the Cardinals in 1934. And on Sept. 21 of that year, the duo started both games of a doubleheader. Dizzy pitched a three-hit shutout in the opener and Daffy followed it up with a no-hitter. Diz had the above to say to his brother after the game. The siblings combined to win 49 games that season, four more than the elder Dean had originally predicted:
3. The DiMaggio four-strikeout game
Before a game against Boston, Dean bet he could strike out Vince DiMaggio (Joe's older brother) four times. After fanning him in his first three at-bats, DiMaggio hit a very catchable foul pop-up behind home plate. Dean, knowing he had a bet on the line, yelled at his catcher "Drop it!" The catcher obliged and Dean struck DiMaggio out.
2. "X-rays of Dean's head show nothing"
Sent to first base as a pinch-runner in Game 4 of the 1934 World Series (again, he could do it all), Dean attempted to break up a double play on a groundball. The second baseman's throw ended up hitting him square in the head, knocking him unconscious. Dean's X-ray at the hospital came back negative -- giving way to a supposed newspaper headline of "X-rays of Dean's head show nothing." That nothing came back to pitch in Game 5 and toss a World Series-winning, complete game shutout in Game 7.
1. Broadcaster Dean comes in to pitch
Dean severely injured his toe during the 1937 All-Star Game. His pitching mechanics were never the same and he was forced into early retirement in 1941 at the age of 31. Soon afterwards, Dean embarked on his fantastic broadcasting career. But while announcing for the lowly St. Louis Browns in 1947, he decided he'd give pitching one more shot, claiming:
The 37-year-old pitched three scoreless innings, allowing three hits and walking one. He also hit a single in his lone at-bat. The Browns would eventually end up losing the game, but still, the legend of ole' Diz remained strong.
Happy 105th, Mr. Dean.