Friday, March 04, 2011

#140 Dean Chance

#140 Dean Chance
I firmly believe that names are important. A guy with a name like "Dean Chance" just seems to have a much better chance of being a successful baseball player than "Micah Hoffpauir", don't you think?

Fun facts about Dean Chance:

-A native of Wooster, OH, Dean signed with the Orioles in 1959 out of high school.

-After going 22-12 with a 3.07 ERA in his first two pro seasons, he was chosen by the Senators in the expansion draft. They immediately traded him to their first-year counterparts (the Angels) for Joe Hicks, an outfielder who would hit .217 for Washington. Chance debuted with Los Angeles in September 1961, but was hit hard.

-The Halos kept him on the big league roster for the entire 1962 campaign, and he saw action in 50 games (24 starts). Dean led the club with a 14-10 mark and a 2.96 ERA, and his 8 saves were one off of the team lead. He received a single vote out of the 20 cast for A.L. Rookie of the Year. The winner was New York's Tom Tresh (.286/.359/.441, 20 HR, 93 RBI). If this vote played out today, bloggers and analysts would be howling over the four votes given to Angels catcher Buck Rodgers (.258/.309/.372, 6 HR, 61 RBI).

-Poor run support doomed Chance to a 13-18 record despite his 3.19 ERA in his sophomore season. But he took matters into his own hands in 1964 with league-leading totals in ERA (1.65), complete games (15), shutouts (11), innings pitched (278.1), and home runs per nine innings (0.2/9). Incredibly, he surrendered just seven home runs all season; you could certainly forgive him for being taken deep once each by Norm Cash, Mickey Mantle, and Brooks Robinson. Dean also went 20-9 to top the A.L. in wins, and earned an All-Star nod and the Cy Young Award. The latter was no mean feat, as only one award was given for the entire major leagues that year. He left the Cubs' Larry Jackson (24-11, 3.14 ERA) and the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax (19-5, 1.74) in his wake.

-The effectively wild right-hander never quite matched that dominant 1964 effort, but remained effective for two more years in Los Angeles before being traded to the Twins for Pete Cimino, Jimmie Hall, and Don Mincher. Dean was an All-Star in his Minnesota debut in 1967, as he went 20-14 with a 2.73 ERA and topped the A.L. with 18 complete games. He was named Comeback Player of the Year, but his season ended in disappointment. His 5-3 loss to the Red Sox in the final game decided the American League pennant.

-On August 25, 1967, he no-hit the Indians in the nightcap of a doubleheader. It was a 2-1 squeaker, with the Tribe manufacturing a first-inning run on two walks, an error by third baseman Cesar Tovar, and a wild pitch. Tovar scored the winning run in the sixth inning when Cleveland starter Sonny Siebert balked with runners on the corners!

-His last strong year came in 1968, when he set a career high with 234 strikeouts and turned in 15 complete games and a 2.53 ERA. His 16-16 record was hampered by poor Twins hitting; 17 times in his 39 starts the offense gave him less than three runs of support.

-After a sore shoulder held him to 15 starts in 1969, Dean changed teams frequently. He split an ineffective 1970 season between the Indians and Mets, and tossed only 89.2 innings for the Tigers in 1971. They released him in October and he called it a career.

-In parts of 11 seasons, he was 128-115 with 23 saves and a 2.92 ERA. His career rate of 0.44 HR/9 IP is the lowest in Angels franchise history, and only Andy Messersmith (2.78 ERA) had a lower earned run average in his Angels tenure than Chance's 2.83.

-In 1969, Dean became a boxing promoter and manager. He founded the International Boxing Association in the 1990s and is president of IBA to this day. It's a professional sanctioning body, and its titles are viewed as a stepping-stone to greater honors. Notable former IBA champs include Oscar de la Hoya, Roy Jones, Jr., James Toney, George Foreman, Arturo Gatti, Sugar Shane Mosley, and Antonio Tarver....not to mention Eric "Butterbean" Esch!

#140 Dean Chance (back)


  1. Thats interesting on that Cy Young race in '64. I wonder how close the voting was, with Koufax having that great year. Chance had some big time years there in the mid-sixties, but the word was that he never had his head on straight.

  2. O's let him go in the expansion draft to Washington. If he'd been on our '64 staff, we win the A.L. That's my story, and I sticking to it.

  3. In those days, winning 20 games was almost the sine qua non of being a Cy Young winner. The writers really placed a lot of emphasis on wins, so with one more win and a slightly lower ERA, it's not surprising Chance won in 1964.

    I like the idea that Chance became a boxing promoter; it's sort of Damon Runyonesque. I don't think you would see ballplayers today doing such a thing.

  4. Brox- It wasn't close at all. The votes were: Chance 17, Jackson 2, Koufax 1.

    Bob - Wally Bunker and Dean Chance? Sounds like a winner to me!

    Marc - The use of "sine qua non" and "Damon Runyonesque" makes this the most erudite comment in the history of this blog. Congratulations! ;-)