We love Dizzy Dean.
He pitched in fifty games in 1934. Fifty. In a 154-game season, that means Diz pitched in a third of his team’s games. And he won thirty. And in the 1934 World Series, he pitched in three games, 26 innings in total. Twenty-six innings in three games.
But really, it wasn’t just 1934 that made Dean great. From 1932 through 1936, Dizzy Dean averaged almost 50 games a season, and about 300 innings pitched. He pitched 126 complete games. He led the league in strikeouts four seasons in a row, and averaged more than 20 wins a season.
Dizzy Dean was a dominant from 1932 through 1936 as Sandy Koufax ever was, as dominant as Pedro Martinez ever was, as dominant as Rube Waddell ever was. And he was one of the most colorful, interesting characters to ever put on a baseball uniform (or broadcast games after his career was over).
Dizzy Dean was overworked. If he was on the Yankees today, he’d be limited to 150 innings a season, and maybe he would have lasted longer than the six seasons he was a regular starter in his 12-year career.
After Dean’s dominant 1934 season, a St. Louis shirt manufacturer called Rice Stix produced a two-card set consisting only of the popular Dizzy Dean and his brother Paul (who the press nicknamed “Daffy,” because the press need to do that sort of thing). The cards were inserted into each box of shirts in 1935. The cards are scarce today, with only 20 examples of the Dizzy Dean graded by PSA as of this writing, and even mid grade examples commanding four figures.