29 June 2014

the legend of dazzy vance

was dazzy vance one of baseball's greatest pitchers, as this 1982 tcma card suggests?
i'm not sure.  i am sure, however, that dazzy vance was a dodger double dipper.

[this is the seventyfourth installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmerrafael landestoy, dave hansen, jose vizcaino, hideo nomo, greg maddux, mike madduxjon garland, chan ho parkvicente romogene mauch, denny lewallyn, von joshua, joe moellerdioner navarro, rudy seanez, bart shirleyrandy wolf, ismael valdes, bobby castillo, mike devereaux, pete richert, jay johnstone, jesse orosco, lee lacy, giovanni carrara, jeff weaverted sizemore,  orel hershisertom goodwinjoe fergusoneddie murraymatt lukeken mcmullen, tim wallach, jerry grotedon suttonralph branca, todd hundley, elmer dessensguillermo motajoe beckwithjamie hoffmannbabe hermanjoe medwickjuan castroron perranoskiclyde kingpaul wanerhughie jenningsron negray, broadway aleck smithgeorge smith, johnny cooney, jim faireyfrenchy bordagaraydoc casey, waite hoytluis olmoclyde sukeforthwillie keeler,  harry howellgermany smithjohnny allenmarv rackleybobo newsom. and maury wills.]

vance was 31 with an 0-4 lifetime record when he debuted for the brooklyn robins in 1922.  he won 18 games that season, and led the league in strikeouts.  he would continue to lead the league in strikeouts in each of the following six seasons, becoming the first (and still the only) national leaguer to claim seven straight strikeout titles.  in 1923, vance again won 18 games, and then in 1924, he achieved the pitcher's triple crown - a league leading 24 wins, 2.16 era, and 262 strikeouts.  he also won the league mvp award that year.  vance led the league with 22 wins in 1925, and he led the league in era in 1928 and 1930, but never won another triple crown.

following the 1931 season, wilbert robinson retired and the robins became the dodgers.  at 41, vance pitched in 27 games for the dodgers in 1932, but was just 12-10 with a 4.20 era.  after the season, he was traded to the cardinals.  vance helped the cardinals win the pennant in 1933, and he made an appearance in game 4 of the world series.  the cardinals lost that game, but beat the tigers to give vance a world series title in his only trip to the postseason.  the following year, vance began the season with the reds, but returned to the cardinals in june of 1935.  they released him in the spring of 1936, and he was quickly signed by the dodgers.

in his second stint with brooklyn, vance was used exclusively as a reliever, posting a record of 3-2 in 20 appearances with an era of 4.41.  he retired following that 1936 season.  19 years later, in 1955, vance was elected to the baseball hall of fame as noted on his 2003 upper deck sp legendary cuts card
remember, only two of vance's 12 seasons with brooklyn occurred when the team was known as the dodgers, so it is fitting that the robins are his team noted on the front of the card.  one of vance's teammates for about half of his time with the robins was fellow hall of famer burleigh grimes, who was also featured in the 2003 upper deck sp legendary cuts set.
grimes never pitched for the franchise when they were known as the dodgers, so i was disappointed to not see 'robins' on the front of the card.  what is even worse is that the back of grimes' card has nothing but robins - both at the top and then again with each season that he pitched for the franchise
the back of vance's card also has robins up top, which is consistent with the front of his card, but the yearly stat rows should also say robins from 1922 through 1931 instead of dodgers
overall, vance won 190 games for the franchise, more than any other brooklyn pitcher and behind only don sutton and don drysdale in franchise history.  his 1918 strikeouts for the team are also the most of any brooklyn pitcher, and he trails only the two dons and sandy koufax on the franchise leader board in that category.  so, even if vance is not one of baseball's greatest pitchers, he most certainly is one of brooklyn's greatest.

No comments: