Dizzy Dean

July 16, 1935: Dizzy Dean wins over the crowd as he accepts the NL MVP trophy

On July 16, 1935, as he accepted the Sporting News 1934 National League Most Valuable Player trophy, Dizzy Dean took the opportunity to win over the fans once again following a brief controversy regarding an exhibition game in Illinois.

It was, perhaps, surprising that Dean had to win over the fans at all after his incredible 1934 season. In that historic campaign, Dean led the league with 30 wins against just seven losses, leading the Cardinals to the 1934 National League pennant and a World Series championship against the Detroit Tigers. His seven shutouts and 195 strikeouts each led the league, and he ended the regular season with a 2.66 ERA in 311 2/3 innings.

In the seven-game World Series, Dean pitched 26 innings, allowing just five earned runs for a 1.73 ERA. He pitched all nine innings of the Cardinals’ 8-3 Game 1 win, then took a tough-luck loss in Game 5 after allowing two earned runs over eight innings. With just one day of rest, Dean pitched the decisive Game 7, holding the Tigers to just six hits in a complete-game shutout.

Following Dean’s historic season, he was named National League MVP ahead of Pittsburgh’s Paul Waner, who placed second, and the Giants’ Jo-Jo Moore, Travis Jackson, and Mel Ott, who finished third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.

The Sporting News chose to honor Dean with a trophy presentation as part of one of the biggest days on the St. Louis baseball calendar. The Cardinals’ annual Tuberculosis Day carnival raised funds for the Tuberculosis and Health Society, which supported a variety of causes in the city. The fundraiser was so important to the city that union leadership, which was boycotting Sportsman’s Park over the employment of union bartenders and ushers, called a one-day halt to support the event. As the St. Louis Globe-Democrat explained, “The Central Trades and Labor Union, in raising the boycott, was influenced by the fact the Tuberculosis Society spends a great deal of its income to feed underprivileged children, some of whom come from union homes.”[1]

Tuberculosis and Health Society officials declared that the event would be “the largest and most spectacular in the history of the tuberculosis games,” including:

  • a performance by 8-year-old trapeze artist Adele Inge;
  • an exhibition by the Southwest Gymnastic Society;
  • a niblick contest featuring golf stars Johnny and Jimmy Manion, Bob Cochran, Ben Richter, Lou Fehlig, George Dawson, Tom Draper, and Francis Schwartz;
  • a race between 100- and 220-yard world record holder Helen Stephens, University City’s Harriet la Mertha, and U.S. Olympian Gertrude Webb;
  • a model airplane contest;
  • an exhibition by the Shriners Drum and Bugle Corps and Patrol;
  • and a band concert.[2]

The extravaganza featured 3,000 total performers and attracted 16,000 fans to the stadium. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, “Women outnumbered the men in attendance by more than three to one, their bright dresses making a coat of many colors for the stands, and their voices during the closely contested ball game, adding a predominating, vibrant note.”[3]

Despite the positive spirit of the festivities and his accomplishments of the past year, Dean had attracted some controversy in recent days. One day earlier, on July 15, he had been slated to appear at an exhibition game in Springfield, Illinois. However, Dean’s scheduled start for the previous day was pushed back. As a result, he pitched all nine innings in the Cardinals’ 13-6 victory over the Braves. After showering, driving 2 ½ hours to Springfield, and stopping at a restaurant, Dean arrived late.

In his Post-Dispatch column, Dean explained:

They tell me in the spring that I am doin’ too many things and should ought to rest more and be sure to eat good nourishin’ food and not miss my meals on account of outside engagements. I try to remember all these things so when I hurry from pitchin’ a ballgame and goes to Springfield and ain’t had my dinner I figure I owe something to the ball club to be sure and eat nourishin’ food, so I goes to a restaurant and orders a steak. And what happens? Why, I get the blast because it seems a Governor and some other people was waitin’. But the Governor can’t pitch for us none and old Diz has got to stay in shape.[4]

Dean was scheduled to receive the MVP trophy from St. Louis Mayor Bernard Dickmann, but in a late change, Dickmann was replaced by Sporting News editor E.G. Brands. With the Braves and Cardinals gathered at home plate, Dean accepted the award and, after a fan loudly shouted, “Say something, you big weed jumper!” made a few brief remarks.[5]

“I want to thank the Sporting News for this trophy and I want to thank each and every St. Louis fan for the loyal support you have given me and I hope I will spend many more years here with the fans of St. Louis,” Dean said.[6]

The St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported, “Dizzy’s speech won his public back, and they cheered loudly as he left the field.”[7]

In the game that followed, it was another Cardinals pitcher, Jesse Haines, who stole the show, allowing one run on eight hits in a complete-game victory. After the Braves’ Buck Jordan hit a first-inning home run, Bill DeLancey hit an RBI single and Terry Moore drove a run home on a fielder’s choice in the fourth. St. Louis won the game, 2-1.

A few days later, the Baseball Writers Association of America presented Dean with its National League MVP Award before a July 21 doubleheader against Brooklyn.[8]

Enjoy this post? Find similar stories listed by decade or by player.

[1] “T.B. Charity Carnival to Be Staged Today at Sportsmans Park,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 16, 1935.

[2] “T.B. Charity Carnival to Be Staged Today at Sportsmans Park,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 16, 1935.

[3] “16,000 At Ball Game On Tuberculosis Day,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 17, 1935.

[4] Dizzy Dean, “Poppin’ Off,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 17, 1935.

[5] “16,000 Witness Colorful Events at T.B. Carnival,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 17, 1935.

[6] “Charity Day Race At Ball Park Won By Miss Stephens,” St. Louis Star and Times, July 16, 1935.

[7] “16,000 Witness Colorful Events at T.B. Carnival,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 17, 1935.

[8] “Writers Will Award Dean Trophy Sunday,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 17, 1935.

Leave a Comment