March 4 – Happy Birthday Dazzy Vance

Dazzy Vance is in the Hall of Fame even though he did not win his first Major League game until he was 31 years old. What took him so long? He spent almost a decade, from 1912 until 1921 in the minor leagues trying to figure out how to throw his lightening quick fastball over the plate for strikes. Before he came up for good with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1922, Vance spent about four seasons in the Yankee organization. New York brought him up to the big leagues for two look-see’s. The first time was 1915. Vance was a 17-game winner that year pitching single A ball in St. Joseph, MO. He got into eight games for New York, losing all three of his decisions. He didn’t get his next taste of the Big Apple until four years later, in 1918 and it did not taste good. Dazzy got shelled in both his Yankee relief appearances that season and since he was 27 at the time, it seemed as if his chances of making the big leagues were over. But the persistent Vance went back to the minors and toiled for four more years.

In 1922, Brooklyn purchased his contract and dumped him immediately into their starting rotation. Dazzy won 18 games in his full-fledged rookie season and led the NL in strikeouts. For the next ten seasons he was one of the very best pitchers in baseball. He ended up winning seven-straight strikeout titles. In 1924 he had one of the greatest seasons any big league pitcher has ever had, leading the NL in victories (28), ERA (2.16) and K’s (262.) By the time his career was over, in 1935, the 44-year-old right-hander had put together a lifetime record of 197-140. That’s on top of the 139 victories he had accumulated in the minor leagues. In 1955, Vance was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

His real name was Charles. He was born in Orient,IA on March 4, 1891. He passed away in 1961.

Ironically, Dazzy shares his March 4th birthday with this other Major League baseball star with a well-known nickname, who also got big league call-ups as a Yankee early in his career, who also didn’t make it to the major leagues for good until he was 31 years old and when he did, he also became a star for Brooklyn.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1915 NYY 0 3 .000 3.54 8 3 4 1 0 0 28.0 23 14 11 1 16 18 1.393
1918 NYY 0 0 15.43 2 0 1 0 0 0 2.1 9 5 4 0 2 0 4.714
16 Yrs 197 140 .585 3.24 442 349 53 216 29 11 2966.2 2809 1246 1068 132 840 2045 1.230
BRO (12 yrs) 190 131 .592 3.17 378 328 36 212 29 7 2757.2 2579 1135 972 123 764 1918 1.212
NYY (2 yrs) 0 3 .000 4.45 10 3 5 1 0 0 30.1 32 19 15 1 18 18 1.648
STL (2 yrs) 7 3 .700 3.59 47 15 11 3 0 4 158.0 167 68 63 7 42 100 1.323
CIN (1 yr) 0 2 .000 7.50 6 2 1 0 0 0 18.0 28 21 15 1 11 9 2.167
PIT (1 yr) 0 1 .000 10.13 1 1 0 0 0 0 2.2 3 3 3 0 5 0 3.000
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/21/2014.

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