Monday, January 16
Jay (sometimes given as "Jerome") Hanna "Dizzy" Dean
January 16, 1910--July 17, 1974
The last National League pitcher to win thirty games, Diz and Peewee Reese doing the Saturday Game of the Week was a fixture of my childhood. Diz's English was not up to PISA standards: runners "slud" into base; good hitters had "parr" in their swings. "Nonchalant" was one of his favorite words. Players stood, knelt in the on-deck circle, swung or fielded nonchalant. Once after a play at first, when a cameraman was caught slightly off guard and the screen filled with a shot of Yogi from the knees down, Dizzy announced, "Here comes Berra's shin guards walkin' nonchalant back to the plate."
Diz was part natural philosopher. After remarking that somebody's bat "looked like a big ol' stump," he continued: "Now, some of you city people might not know what a stump is. Well, a stump is a wood thing...it's somethin' a tree has been cut down offa."