Tuesday, March 4, 2008


By Geoff Bilau, Angelswin.com Senior Editor

Of all the compliments one could pay to Dean Chance’s incredible 1964 season and subsequent awarding of the Cy Young Award, perhaps the highest praise is this: he beat Sandy Koufax.

The Dodgers Hall of Fame lefthander, during arguably the most dominant four-season stretch in Major League history, took home three Cy Young Awards. Chance’s brilliance in 1964, however, prevented Koufax from winning four. (Only one winner was named for all of MLB prior to the 1967 season.) And he did so pitching half his games from the same Chavez Ravine mound as Koufax.

Wilmer Dean Chance came to the Angels in the 1960 expansion draft after spending two seasons in the Baltimore Orioles organization, and made his major league debut late in the 1961 season. Following a strong rookie season in 1962 (14-10, 2.96 ERA), Chance had a sophomore slump, slipping to 13-18 in 1963, despite a respectable 3.19 ERA.

At the All-Star break in 1964, Chance was again a victim of awful run support and sported a mediocre 5-5 record. His 2.19 ERA, however, was good enough to earn him the All-Star Game start, during which he pitched three scoreless innings.

The honor seemed to inspire Chance and the 23 year old took matters into his own hands in the second half. He won nine straight games from July 11 through Aug. 18 — six of them shutouts, and four of those by a 1-0 score. During the streak, Chance allowed only seven earned runs in 79 innings (0.80 ERA).

His brilliance was perhaps best illustrated by his complete and utter dominance of the New York Yankees. Chance pitched five games against the Bronx Bombers, posting a 4-0 record. But here’s where things just get silly: In 50 innings of work against New York, Chance allowed one run. And it came on a solo home run by Mickey Mantle, who called Chance the toughest pitcher he ever faced.

When all was said and done, Chance was 20-9 with a 1.65 ERA, the 70th lowest ERA in Major League history and No. 7 all-time in the modern era. He threw 11 shutouts, five of them by a 1-0 score. (He also lost four games, 1-0.)

Of the 278 1/3 innings Chance pitched in 1964, opponents crossed the plate in only 35 of them. The other 243 1/3 were scoreless.

In 47 years of franchise history, the Angels have had many pitchers carry the label of staff ace — some even legitimately deserving. But only one can claim a season as the best pitcher in all of baseball. That man is Dean Chance in 1964.
Love to hear what you think!

AngelsWin Media

AngelsWin.com Website Store

 photo t_zps6af139fc.gif
Copyright © 2013 Los Angeles Angels Blog | AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com is the unofficial website of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Our comments and views do not express the views of the major league club or anyone affiliate with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  AngelsWin.com blog content, articles and opinions are provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind.  We disclaim warranties, express or implied, including warranties for a particular purpose, accuracy, completeness, availability, security, compatibility and non-infringement.  Blog material, articles and other information furnished or supplied by you to AngelsWin.com become the ownership of AngelsWin.com for use at our discretion.  Your use of AngelsWin content is at your own discretion and risk. We do not warrant that any content here be error free that access thereto will be uninterrupted or errors will be corrected. We do not warrant or make any representations regarding  the use of any content made available through AngelsWin.com  You hereby waive any claim against us with respect thereto. AngelsWin.com may contain the opinions and views of other members and users. We cannot endorse, guarantee, or be responsible for the accuracy, efficacy or veracity of any content generated by our members and other users. The content of AngelsWin.com is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. Such content is not intended to, and does not, constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis, and may not be used for such purposes. Reliance on any information appearing on AngelsWin.com is strictly at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in, or accessible through, the AngelsWin.com without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer or professional licensed in the recipient's state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.