Dazzy VanceClarence Arthur Vance
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1955
Primary team: Brooklyn Dodgers
Primary position: Pitcher
"Dazzy Vance could throw a cream puff through a battleship," said former Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Johnny Frederick.
Renowned for his blazing fastball, Vance was the premier strikeout pitcher of the 1920s. He led the National League in strikeouts for seven consecutive seasons from 1922-'28, and often he led by wide margins. In 1924, he had more strikeouts than the second- and third-place pitchers combined.
His best season was 1924, when he won the NL MVP award after leading the league in wins (28), ERA (2.16), complete games (30) and strikeouts (262). He beat out fellow Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby—who hit .424 that season—for the award, and $1,000 in gold coins.
He led the league in wins again the next season, during which he also threw a no-hitter against Philadelphia, striking out nine and walking one.
Vance's Dodgers never won a pennant, and in 1933 he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, where he joined Dizzy and Paul Dean. He was sold to the Reds the following year, but he was waived back to St. Louis in time to win the 1934 World Series as part of the "Gashouse Gang." He finished his career as a reliever back with Brooklyn in 1935.
Vance's career is even more remarkable because he did not break into the major leagues for good until the age of 31 in 1922. He had spent the previous decade pitching mostly in the minor leagues, though he made nine appearances between the Pirates and Yankees in 1915, and two more for the Yankees in 1918. A sore arm was blamed for cutting short his first cracks at the majors.
That soreness became shooting pain after he banged his elbow on a poker table, causing him to have surgery. The procedure cleared up the pain, and also relieved the chronic soreness that had plagued him.
He had a strong season for the New Orleans Pelicans of the Southern League in 1921, but at the age of 30, he was far from a hot prospect. But the Pelicans had a catcher named Hank DeBerry whom the Dodgers wanted, so New Orleans offered DeBerry along with Vance in a package deal for $10,000. The Dodgers took the deal, and Vance won 18 games as a 31-year-old rookie in 1922, en route to a Hall of Fame career. He was elected to the Hall in 1955, and he died six years later at the age of 69.
Year Inducted: 1955
Primary Team: Brooklyn Dodgers
Position Played: Pitcher
Birth place: Orient, Iowa
Birth year: 1891
Died: 1961, Homosassa Springs, Florida
New York Yankees (1915-1918)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1915)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1922-1932)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1935)
St. Louis Cardinals (1933-1934)
Cincinnati Reds (1935)
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