Dizzy Dean

Position: Pitcher
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals, 1930;1932-1937; Chicago Cubs, 1938-1941; St. Louis Browns, 1947

One of the most entertaining players in the history of baseball, and a member of the overpowering Gashouse Gang of the old St. Louis Cardinals, Dizzy Dean blazed across the baseball sky for five seasons. He was the last pitcher to win 30 games in a season until Denny McLain bagged 31 in 1968. Diz was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1934 and finished second in the voting in 1935 and 1936.

Jay Hanna Dean (1911-1974) was born in Arkansas to an itinerant farm worker, and the Dean family traveled the Southwest. Diz and his brothers (his kid brother Paul was also a pitcher) went to work in the fields at early ages. Jay picked up his nickname and his knowledge of pitching while in the Army. After serving, he moved to Texas and pitched for a company team.

A Cardinals sleuth spotted him and signed him to a St. Louis organization contract for the 1930 season. He had a combined 25-10 record that year in the minor leagues before pitching a three-hit shutout for the Cardinals on the final day of the season.

After winning 26 games in 1931 at Triple-A Houston, he was called up to stay for the 1932 campaign. Dizzy won 18 games and led the NL in shutouts, innings pitched, and strikeouts, the first of four consecutive strikeout titles he would earn.

Dizzy was a shrewd negotiator. Once, he staged a holdout during the 1934 championship season for his brother Paul, who Diz felt was underpaid. Despite missing some starts during the holdout, the elder Dean went 30-7, and rookie Paul was 19-11.

The Dean brothers won four World Series games as the Cards beat the Tigers. While pinch-running in Game 4, Dizzy was beaned in the forehead while breaking up a double play. It was feared that he would miss the remainder of the Series until the headlines the next day ran “X-Ray of Dean’s Head Reveals Nothing.” Dizzy ended up pitching a shutout and scoring the only run he would need in the seventh game.

During the 1937 All-Star Game, a line drive off the bat of Earl Averill broke Dizzy’s toe. He tried to come back too soon, which altered his motion and, as a result, injured his right arm. He never fully recovered and never again won more than eight games in a season. He retired in 1941 at age 30.

Dizzy became a popular broadcaster in St. Louis with a unique gift for memorable malapropisms. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953.

Here are Dizzy Dean's major league totals:


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