Monday, March 29, 2021

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats: 1930s pitchers Dizzy Dean/Paul Derringer/Red Ruffing


Dizzy Dean: Dizzy Dean made it to the Hall of Fame despite only six full seasons as a starting pitcher. With the Cardinals from 1932 to 1937 he was one of the best pitchers in baseball, most notably 1934 when he became the only NL pitcher in the liveball era to win 30 games. However, injuries took their toll on his arm, and at age 27 he pitched his last full season. Acquired by the Cubs in 1938, he pitched very well in limited duty, including some key victories down the stretch to edge out the Pirates for the NL pennant. However, his career was basically over at the age of 30. After his playing career Dean became one of the first popular players-turned-announcers, using a carefully-constructed persona as a feeble-minded Southerner, intentionally goofing up to augment his "Dizzy" image.

Paul Derringer: The first player in this set not in the Hall of Fame, Paul Derringer fifteen seasons in the major leagues, mostly for the Reds. He was one of the greatest control pitchers of all time, walking only 761 batters in 3,645 innings. His best season was 1939, helping the Reds win the pennant by going 25-7 with a 2.93 ERA. Derringer was often in trouble off-the-field, getting into numerous fights. After his career he was a plastic salesman and later handled customer bail matters for the AAA. He is also the first player in this set I have a playing-days card from, in the 1935 Diamond Match set.

Red Ruffing: Red Ruffing began his career with the Red Sox, and after suffering through two 20-loss seasons Boston traded him to the Yankees for little-regarded outfielder Cedric Durst. Yankees manager Bob Shawkey adjusted Ruffing's delivery when he arrived in the Bronx, putting him on a Hall of Fame path that saw him win six World Series, including four in a row from 1936-1939, winning 20+ games each of those seasons. Ruffing served as a Private in the US Army Air Forces in World War II, and was later a coach and executive for several teams.

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