Francis Joseph O’Doul began his pro baseball career as a southpaw pitcher with the New York Yankees in 1919. He failed to win or lose a game in three partial seasons with New York and then hurt his left arm, pitching for the Red Sox in 1923. He spent the next five years in the minors converting himself into an every day player. He resurfaced with the New York Giants in 1928, hitting .319 as a 31-year old second-time rookie. Unfortunately, O’Doul’s defensive skills in the outfield did not match his hitting prowess and New York traded him to Philadelphia after that season. What a mistake that turned out to be for the Giants. All O’Doul did for the Phillies in 1929 was win the NL batting title with an incredible .398 average and a league-leading 254 hits. He belted 32 home runs, drove in 122 and scored 152 times himself and finished second in that year’s MVP voting to the immortal Rogers Hornsby. O’Doul had another great year in 1930, averaging .383 but the Phillies finished 40 games out of first place. Lefty’s defense was still dreadful however, and the Phillies needed pitching so they dealt O’Doul to Brooklyn for a couple of hurlers, a replacement outfielder and some much needed cash. During O’Douls three years with Brooklyn, he averaged .340 and won his second NL batting title with a .368 average in 1932. During the 33 season, he was traded back to the Giants and got the opportunity to play in the only World Series of his career. By then he was 36-years old and losing his hitting skills. He retired the following year and went back to his native San Francisco to manage the Seals, in the Pacific Coast League.
Lefty died in 1969. He shares a birthday with this other star from the 1920s and ’30s who like O’Doul, was known by his nickname and made brief appearances as a Yankee, early in his career.
|NYG (3 yrs)||275||848||760||125||239||32||8||26||127||12||77||32||.314||.380||.480||.860|
|BRO (3 yrs)||325||1394||1266||219||431||69||20||33||186||18||113||42||.340||.399||.505||.904|
|NYY (3 yrs)||40||39||37||4||9||2||0||0||6||1||2||5||.243||.282||.297||.579|
|PHI (2 yrs)||294||1338||1166||274||456||72||13||54||219||5||139||40||.391||.460||.614||1.074|
|BOS (1 yr)||36||39||35||2||5||0||0||0||4||0||2||3||.143||.189||.143||.332|
Dazzy Vance is in the Hall of Fame even though he did not win his first Major League game until he was 31 years old. What took him so long? He spent almost a decade, from 1912 until 1921 in the minor leagues trying to figure out how to throw his lightening quick fastball over the plate for strikes. Before he came up for good with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1922, Vance spent about four seasons in the Yankee organization. New York brought him up to the big leagues for two look-see’s. The first time was 1915. Vance was a 17-game winner that year pitching single A ball in St. Joseph, MO. He got into eight games for New York, losing all three of his decisions. He didn’t get his next taste of the Big Apple until four years later, in 1918 and it did not taste good. Dazzy got shelled in both his Yankee relief appearances that season and since he was 27 at the time, it seemed as if his chances of making the big leagues were over. But the persistent Vance went back to the minors and toiled for four more years.
In 1922, Brooklyn purchased his contract and dumped him immediately into their starting rotation. Dazzy won 18 games in his full-fledged rookie season and led the NL in strikeouts. For the next ten seasons he was one of the very best pitchers in baseball. He ended up winning seven-straight strikeout titles. In 1924 he had one of the greatest seasons any big league pitcher has ever had, leading the NL in victories (28), ERA (2.16) and K’s (262.) By the time his career was over, in 1935, the 44-year-old right-hander had put together a lifetime record of 197-140. That’s on top of the 139 victories he had accumulated in the minor leagues. In 1955, Vance was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
His real name was Charles. He was born in Orient,IA on March 4, 1891. He passed away in 1961.
Ironically, Dazzy shares his March 4th birthday with this other Major League baseball star with a well-known nickname, who also got big league call-ups as a Yankee early in his career, who also didn’t make it to the major leagues for good until he was 31 years old and when he did, he also became a star for Brooklyn.
|BRO (12 yrs)||190||131||.592||3.17||378||328||36||212||29||7||2757.2||2579||1135||972||123||764||1918||1.212|
|NYY (2 yrs)||0||3||.000||4.45||10||3||5||1||0||0||30.1||32||19||15||1||18||18||1.648|
|STL (2 yrs)||7||3||.700||3.59||47||15||11||3||0||4||158.0||167||68||63||7||42||100||1.323|
|CIN (1 yr)||0||2||.000||7.50||6||2||1||0||0||0||18.0||28||21||15||1||11||9||2.167|
|PIT (1 yr)||0||1||.000||10.13||1||1||0||0||0||0||2.2||3||3||3||0||5||0||3.000|