By Glen Sparks
Dazzy Vance, with his crank-it-up fastball and show-stopping curveball, nearly got shut out of the postseason. The Brooklyn Dodger teams he played for in his heyday from 1922-32 weren’t very good. Seven of those teams finished in sixth place in an eight-team National League.
The 1924 team nearly did it. Dazzy almost won the N.L. pennant by himself. The Midwest farm boy, doing his business in the big city, went 28-6 in ’24. He posted a 2.16 ERA and 262 strikeouts. Writers voted Vance the N.L. MVP, but the Dodgers (actually, the Robins at the time) ended up 92-62, 1 ½ games behind their past nemesis, current nemesis, and forever nemesis, the Giants.
Vance left Brooklyn in 1932. The big redhead did a tour of St. Louis, Cincinnati, St. Louis again, and, finally, Brooklyn again, before retiring after the 1935 season. Dazzy got to the postseason in 1934, during his second go-around with the Cardinals, against the Detroit Tigers.
Player-manager Frankie Frisch brought in Vance with two outs in the third inning of Game 4. His modest pitching line reads thusly:
IP: 1 1/3
So, Vance did get three of four outs by strikeout. That works out to 20.3 K’s per nine innings. Impressive.
The Cardinals beat the Tigers in seven games. Dazzy, you made us proud.