Tuesday, January 18, 2005

January 18th, 1934

Dizzy Dean Predicts St. Louis Cardinals will win pennant

Dean--who incidentally was born on January 16th--actually went even farther than a pennant prediction. He predicted he would win 20 to 25 games and that his brother Paul would win 18 to 20. Dizzy was two out of three, the Cardinals did win the pennant (and the World Series, over Detroit in seven games with Dizzy throwing a shut out in Game 7) and Paul Dean won 19 games. Dizzy was either conservative or modest, he won 30 games, rather than the 20-25 he predicted for himself. Despite the passing of more than seventy years, Dean's 30-7 record remains the last thirty game winner in the National League (the last in MLB belongs to Denny McLain in 1968).

Dean was something of an outspoken figure; his pennant prediction is not out of line with the rest of quotable career. Dean is thought to have been the man who coined the phrase "It ain't bragging if you can back it up" and also noted that "anybody who's ever had the privilege of seeing me play knows that I am the greatest pitcher in the world." Dean's career ended relatively suddenly, while pitching in the 1937 All-Star Game, Earl Averill lined a ball off Dean's foot. The ball broke Dean's toe, and in compensating for the injury, Dean hurt his arm. After averaging 287 IP the first six seasons of his career, Dean would throw just 230 in the last five, including four innings in a 1947 "comeback" with the St. Louis Browns.

January 18th, 1964

Brady Anderson Born

Brady Anderson is remembered for two things: His distinctive sideburns and his fantastically fluky 1996 season. Anderson's sideburns as can be seen clearly here or here, were quite something and made the long-time Oriole centerfield a memorable sight. Even more memorable however, was Anderson's 1996 season. To say that it was wildly divergent from the rest of his career doesn't quite do the season justice. It represented Anderson's career high in every important offensive statistic except stolen bases and on-base percentage. Anderson's 50 home runs in 1996 are exactly 20% of his career 210 home runs and his 110 RBIs represent almost 15% of his career RBI. For some historical perspective, if Hank Aaron had 20% of his home runs and 15% of his RBIs in one season, he would've hit 151 HRs and 330 RBIs. The next season Anderson suffered the second largest drop in home runs in the history of the game, going from 50 to just 18. Anderson retired after the 2002 season, never coming close to matching the totals. Big sideburns and a brief period of inexplicable success...hmm, who does that remind me of?

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