A colorful guy who lived life with passion and loved to butcher the English language, baseball great Jay Hanna "Dizzy" Dean (1911–1974), was born on this day in Lucas, Arkansas, the son of a poor cotton picker. The lovable Dean said he learned how to pitch by throwing nuts at squirrels.
"A lot of people who don't say 'ain't,' ain't eatin," he once joked. His trademark was the use of the word "ain't."
As a right-handed pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, he helped lead the Gashouse Gang's success in the Depression-laden 1930s. Dean had an amazing 1934 season, posting a 30-7 regular-season record, leading the league in strikeouts, and winning two World Series games.
"Ol Diz" once said, "The dumber a pitcher is, the better. When he gets smart and begins to experiment with a lot of different pitches, he's in trouble. All I ever had was a fastball, a curve, and a changeup and I did pretty good."
Dean joined the Cardinals in 1932 and set a record that year by striking out 17 men in 9 innings. He pitched a career total of 317 games and tallied a 150-83 record, with a 3.02 ERA.
Cubs owner Phil Wrigley once explained, "Going anywhere with (Dizzy) was like going with a brass band. He had a great sense of humor and was just a very interesting character."
The memorable pitcher became a TV broadcaster with CBS and NBC after his 1947 retirement and was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.
"I always just went out there and struck out all the fellas I could. I did not worry about winnin' this number of games or that number," he explained.
More BASEBALL Quotations
Actions don't lie.