Baseball History: Dazzy Vance

Dazzy_Vance_1922After an unimpressive beginning to his major league career, Dazzy Vance eventually became a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.

Vance started in the big leagues in 1915 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees and went 0-4 that season. Vance also had a stint in 1918 with the Yankees, but it took him four more years before he was actually classified as a rookie.

At 31, Vance returned to the big leagues with Brooklyn in 1922. He was 18-12 that year and the next season he posted a 18-15 mark.

In 1924, Vance had the best season of his 16-year career as he was selected as the league’s Most Valuable Player, while winning the pitcher’s triple crown. Vance was 28-8 with a 2.16 ERA and a career-high 262 strikeouts.

A year later, Vance tossed the only no-hitter of his career, but nearly had another in the same week.

On Sept. 8, Vance surrendered one hit to Philadelphia as Brooklyn blanked the Phillies 1-0 at Ebbets Field. The only blemish for Vance was a second-inning single by Chicken Hawks. Hawks was thrown out trying to steal, which allowed Vance to face the minimum of 27 batters.

The Phillies would be the victim of Vance’s no-hitter on Sept. 13 as the Dodgers would win 10-1 at home.

After Brooklyn built a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first, it was Philadelphia’s turn at the plate.

Hawks reached base on a two-base error by Brooklyn left fielder Jimmy Johnston. Hawks made it to third on the same play as Johnston was charged with another miscue on the throw back to the infield. Hawks would score on a sacrifice fly by Bernie Friberg.

Brooklyn went on to score four runs in the fourth and added single runs in the seventh and eighth so the game was never in doubt as Vance dominated the Phillies. He faced 29 hitters and fanned nine.

Dick Cox led Brooklyn with four hits, while Johnston and Milt Stock knocked in three runs each.

Vance would finish the 1925 season with a 22-9 record on his way to Cooperstown. He would finish his career with 197 wins and 140 losses. He led the National League in strikeouts seven straight seasons from 1922-1928.

In 1934, the 43-year old Vance was part of the famous “Gas House Gang” that won the World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals.