Happy Birthday, Dizzy Dean


Dizzy Dean, a member of the Gas House Gang, was born on this date in 1910. Dean would go on to make his debut for the St. Louis Cardinals on September 28, 1930.

Dean’s playing career would continue until his retirement in 1947 on the 17th anniversary of his debut. True, he had retired before in 1941 but he came back to start one last game.

I never really paid attention to his numbers before but it’s fascinating to look at them now. In his 17 year career, Dean had a win-loss record of 150–83, an ERA of 3.02, and struck out 1,163. I don’t know why I was expecting that to have been double in wins and strikeouts. It just makes sense, right?

After all, this is Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean that we are talking about. He’s the pitcher that went 30-7 in 1934 with a 2.66 ERA. He’s the same guy that took home the National League Most Valuable Player award for the same season. It’s the same year that he helped lead the Cardinals to the World Series championship, too.

What gets interesting is that the Baseball Writers Association of America had much different rules back in the day. In the early 1940s, the BBWAA could have inducted a player that had only been retired for a year. Until 1945, there were no annual elections by the writers to induct players into the Hall of Fame.

Dean’s name would be on the ballot from 1495 until he was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953.

From Dean’s page at Baseball Reference:

"1945 BBWAA ( 6.9%)1946 Final Ballot (17.1%)1946 Nominating Vote (19.8%)1947 BBWAA (54.7%)1948 BBWAA (33.1%)1949 BBWAA (57.5%)1949 Run Off (43.3%)1950 BBWAA (50.6%)1951 BBWAA (64.2%)1952 BBWAA (65.0%)1953 BBWAA (79.2%)"

It’s fascinating to see how he was able to see a gradual increase in support but looking back on his statistics, I think he was inducted for his earlier seasons more so than looking at his career as a whole.