Monday, April 11, 2016

ICYMI: Dizzy Dean and Why Bryan Mitchell’s Toe Injury is Important

If you don’t check out the comments section on our blog, you should. There is a nice little core and stable of commenters that are just as full of knowledge and intelligence as they are jammed packed with passion for this team and organization. I bring that up because it was brought to my attention there that Bryan Mitchell would miss at least three months with basically a broken toe, a broken toe he suffered covering first base in one of the final spring games this season. I made the comment, very tongue-in-cheek by the way, “he’s going to miss three months for a toe?” and it was Ken Reed that very quickly reminded me that another pitcher once tried to pitch through a toe injury and it ended up costing him his career.

Dizzy Dean was pitching for the National League in the 1937 All-Star Game and was facing off against the American League’s Earl Averill of the Cleveland Indians when Averill hit a line drive back to the mound striking Dean in the foot. Dean suffered a fractured big toe and attempted to come back too soon from the injury resulting in a change of pitching motion and mechanics. The move was designed to compensate Dean’s pain when he landed on the toe but it ended up costing him so much more, his career. Dean hurt his arm and lost the great and overpowered fastball that made him such a good pitcher, all because of a toe.

It didn’t take long either, by 1938 Dean’s arm was basically all but gone. Dean has his contract bought out and later went on to help the Chicago Cubs to a 1938 NL pennant without much left on his arm. Dean pitched a huge game for Chicago down the stretch and pitched Game 2 for the Cubs in the 1938 World Series before losing to the New York Yankees in “Old Diz’s Last Stand.” Dean pitched until the 1941 season, his age 31 season, before retiring at the end of the season.

Dean was one of the best pitchers in all of Major League Baseball from his age 23 to his age 27 season and by 31 years old he had fallen so far he was forced into retirement. All because of a toe. One little toe.

Get well soon Bryan and take all the time you need!

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)