September 13th, 2012
September 13, 1925 – Right-hander Dazzy Vance, the Brooklyn ace who took a unique route to Baseball’s Hall of Fame, pitched a no-hitter against the Phillies only five days after one-hitting them. Back in 1920, Arthur “Dazzy” Vance, a minor league journeyman, accidentally banged his arm on a table during a poker game. The next morning, still inexplicably in pain, he went to the doctor. The diagnosis was an elbow injury that had gone undetected. Vance underwent an elbow surgery that likely relieved the right-hander of bone chips and other loose fragments in his elbow, and at age 29, he suddenly regained his fastball. But Vance needed one more break to begin his epic journey with the Brooklyn Dodgers. After winning 21 games in 1921 at Class A New Orleans, Vance was offered to Brooklyn in a package deal with highly regarded catcher Hank DeBerry. Dodger Owner Charles Ebbets wanted DeBerry, but he balked at Vance, who owned a lifetime 0-4 Major League record in previous failed auditions with the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Brooklyn scout Larry Sutton pleaded with Ebbets after hearing DeBerry rave about Vance’s talent. Ebbets relented, and Vance earned a spot in the starting rotation the following spring. For the next seven seasons, Vance led the National League in strikeouts. His fashion trademark was an old undershirt with a tattered right sleeve. Opponents complained about the distracting flannel strips flapping behind his fastball, but Vance claimed it was his “lucky shirt” from New Orleans. The league president couldn’t find a rule against tattered shirts, so Vance kept wearing it. Vance continued pitching in the Majors until age 44. He won 197 games and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1955.