Dean brothers come to Cape

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Dizzy Dean and his brother, Paul, were in Cape Girardeau in 1944. Dizzy was visiting with his brother, who was on the St. Louis Browns.During spring training in 1934, Dizzy Dean predictedhe and his brother, Paul, would win 45 games that season.

This was all right for the older Dean brother. He had been around the major league scene a couple of years, but Paul had never pitched a game in the majors.

The boast proved conservative. They won 49 games. Dizzy won 30, Paul 19.

And they were not through yet.

"Me and Paul will win all four games in the World Series," boasted Dizzy.

They did!

Dizzy won two over the Detroit Tigers, including a shutout in the seventh game.

Paul won two in the Series.

The 1935 season proved a virtual carbon copy of 1934 as the Deans won 47. Dizzy slipped to 28 victories but still led the league in many pitching categories. A year later, he won 24 games.

"Dizzy Dean was something else," said Ed Williams of Cape Girardeau, a distance runner who was also a pitcher for the Cape Girardeau Capahas.

Dizzy actually had only six full seasons in the major leagues, but he packed lots of accomplishments, excitement and shenanigans into that short period. In 317 games, Dean had a 150-83 record, with a 3.02 earned-run average. He struck out 1,163 hitters and walked 453 in 1,967 innings.

Dean and some of his accomplishments were recalled recently when a picture of the Dean brothers appeared on the Faces & Places page of the Southeast Missourian.

This was during World War II when the St. Louis Browns trained at Cape Girardeau.

By that time, Dizzy was about through playing baseball, but his brother, Paul, nicknamed Daffy, was on the roster of the St. Louis Browns. Dizzy paid him a visit here.

As a youngster, Dizzy and his brothers roamed through the Southwest with their father, picking cotton for 50 cents a day. Dean joined the Army in 1927, learned to pitch with a service team and signed a professional contract after being discharged in 1930. He appeared in one game with the St. Louis Cardinals that season.

A line drive by Earl Averill during the 1937 All Star Game was Dizzy's downfall. The drive broke the big toe on his left foot. Dean insisted on returning before it was completely healed. Unable to follow through properly, he seriously damaged his arm and was never the same.

Dean was traded to the Chicago Cubs after the season and won just 16 games for them before being released early in 1941. He then became a broadcaster for the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns. Dean made a final major league appearance with the Browns on the last day of the 1947 season.

During the 1950s, he did network telecasts of the major league games of the week and became known to millions of fans who had never seen him pitch. He retired in the late 1960s.

Avid Browns' fan

"I was an avid St. Louis Browns fan," said John "Doc" Yallaly, who was a youngster when the Browns trained in Cape Girardeau in 1943, 1944 and 1945.

"A lot of the players here took time to play pitch-and-catch with the youngsters," said Yallaly. "I still remember a lot of the Browns' names from that era -- Luke Sewell, Frank Mancuso, Don Gutteridge, Bob Moncrief, Pete Gray.

"My dad became good friends with Bob Moncrief, and he arranged for a couple of tickets for the all-St. Louis World Series when the Cards and Browns met in the 1944 Series," said Yallaly. The St. Louis Cardinals trained at Cairo, Ill. Yallaly said the Browns practiced at Capaha Park and in the Arena Building -- yes, inside.

"Dirt was placed in the Arena Building where they hit pepper and practiced infield," said Yallaly.

Yallaly recently attended the annual St. Louis Browns reunion. Honored at the reunion was Ned Garver, who won 20 games 50 years ago for a team that lost 100 games. A lineup of former Browns were in attendance at the reunion, including Don Lenhardt, Bob Turley, Red Hayworth, Bud Thomas, Roy Sievers, Bill Jennings, Ed Mickelson, Ray Coleman, Don Gutteridge, Frank Mancuso and Mike Blyzka.

Pete Gray, the Browns' one-armed outfielder, was described as a "sensation at spring training camp at Cape Girardeau," in 1945, his first year in the majors.

Gray had earned his chance at a shot in the majors.

The 27-year-old Pennsylvanian who lost his right arm at age 6 played in the in the Southern Association with the Memphis, Tenn., club.

He hit .333 and stole 68 bases to lead in both categories in that league.

Gray became adept at getting rid of the ball. After catching the ball, he threw his glove under his right armpit, rolling the ball along his wrist, then recaptured the ball with his hand and got it away.

Despite losing his right arm in a childhood truck accident, Gray became a major league ballplayer. The naturally right-handed Gray learned to throw and bat from the opposite side.

Batting with one arm, Gray sprayed line drives around the field. On the base paths, he displayed speed and daring, and fielding was a study in agility and dexterity. After catching a fly ball, Gray would tuck his thinly padded glove under his stump, roll the ball across his chest, and throw, all in one fluid motion.

Gray became a semi-pro star in the coal towns of his native Pennsylvania and with the famed Brooklyn Bushwicks. He entered pro ball in 1942 with Three Rivers of the Canadian-American League and hit .381 in 42 games.

Gray's major league career ended in 1946 when baseball returned to full strength. The Browns sent Gray down. He continued to play in the minors and barnstorm with exhibition teams until the early 1950s.

Shivelbine house

A home, which appeared on the Faces & Places page of the Missourian recently was identified as the Shivelbine house, located at the southwest corner of Spanish and Good Hope.

The three-story, Industrial Revolution-Victorian-style house, was built in 1880 for August and Amalia Frank Shivelbine.

The upper portion of the home was destroyed by fire in 1913 and was rebuilt with larger gables.

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