September 21, 1934: Hours after his brother throws a three-hit shutout, Paul Dean throws the second no-hitter in Cardinals history

After watching Dizzy Dean spin a three-hit shutout and Paul Dean throw the second no-hitter in St. Louis Cardinals history, Brooklyn Times-Union sportswriter Bill McCullough was moved to poetry with his lede in the next day’s paper:

You may sing the praises of Mickey Cochrane’s Tigers and the glory of the Giants from the housetops. Tell the story of Lynwood (Schoolboy) Rowe and the saga of Carl Hubbell, the wizardry of Grover Alexander and the blinding speed of Walter Johnson, but brother, if you were at Ebbetts Field yesterday, you’ve got something to tell your children.[1]

It wasn’t often in 1934 that someone managed to steal the show from Dizzy Dean, but his brother managed the trick on a day that only served to bolster the legend of the incredible Dean brothers.

Both games were make-ups for games that were rained out earlier in the month. Before the double-header started, the Deans were speaking to a reporter in the visitor’s dugout when they were asked who would pitch the first game.

“I’m supposed to,” Dizzy said, “but I don’t feel so good. How about you taking it, Paul?”

“OK with me,” Paul responded. “Where’s the boss?”

Frankie Frisch, the Cardinals’ second baseman/manager, was just emerging onto the field and began to take infield drills. Before his pregame routine was complete, however, the Deans already had lost interest.

“Well, I guess there’s no help for it,” Dizzy said as he walked off to begin warming up.[2]

However well Dizzy was feeling, he went on to throw 7 1/3 no-hit innings in a 13-0 blowout. With one out in the eighth, Buzz Boyle beat out a slow roller to the shortstop. In the next inning, Sam Leslie and Joe Stripp each singled before Al Lopez reached on an error by Pepper Martin at third base. With the bases loaded, Dizzy ended the threat by striking out Nick Tremark for his 27th win of the year.

“I didn’t know that I had a no-hitter,” Dizzy said. “I was way out in front and I was just coasting along. Boy, if I had known that I was so near to a no-hitter, I’d have given those Dodgers so much smoke and such fancy curves that they wouldn’t have even seen the ball.”[3]

Ripper Collins led the Cardinals’ offense with four hits and six RBIs, including a two-run single in the first inning, an RBI double in the third, a two-run home run in the fourth, and another RBI double in the sixth. Frankie Frisch and Spud Davis drove in two runs apiece, and Jack Rothrock added two hits and three runs scored.

With their win streak now up to five games, 21-year-old rookie Paul Dean and the Cardinals matched up against Ray Benge and the Dodgers. After Benge retired the Cardinals in order in the first, Paul issued a two-out walk to Len Koenecke before retiring Leslie on a fly ball.

“I’ve pitched better ball games in my career than the one today,” Paul said afterwards, “but everything went my way. It seemed that I was always ahead of the hitters, all but Koenecke, whom I walked in the first inning. I had him 3-and-2 and inasmuch as he tagged me for an extra-base hit last month in St. Louis, I wasn’t going to give him anything good.”[4]

Benge kept pace with Paul until the top of the sixth inning, when the younger Dean helped his own cause with a one-out double into center field. Pepper Martin followed with a double to left, and though he was thrown out at third by the center fielder Koenecke, Paul scored on the play to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.

One inning later, Joe Medwick doubled to left field and scored on an RBI single to right by Collins. In the seventh, Paul had his closest call of the game as Leslie lifted a fly ball to deep left field that required Medwick to make a running, one-handed catch.[5]

“When did I first think about (a no-hitter)?” Paul said. “Why, after I got the first three outs of the game in the first inning. I said to myself as I went back to the dugout, ‘Well, no hits so far,’ and after the second inning I said the same thing.

“Then after a couple more innings I started to talk to (rookie catcher Bill) DeLancey about it. We’re roommates and I think a lot of him and we told each other after each inning that there wasn’t no hits yet. After six innings I said to Dee that if we could bear down just a little bit longer, we’d have a no-hit game for the room. Dee thought it was a good idea and we both cut the pie at each other when Medwick goes out near the bleacher wall in that seventh inning and comes up with Leslie’s fly, which was well rickety-cacked.”[6]

Paul Dean struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth, and in the top of the ninth Collins drove in his eighth run of the day on a ground ball that scored Medwick.

Down 3-0 in the bottom of the ninth and still seeking the Dodgers’ first hit, Casey Stengel called on Jim Bucher to pinch hit for Lopez. The move didn’t work, however, as Paul recorded his sixth and final strikeout of the game.

After Paul got the final strike, coach Miguel Gonzales, who caught Jesse Haines when he threw the first no-hitter in Cardinals history 10 years earlier, yelled at Paul, “Two more and you’ll get Dizzy jealous!”[7]

“I was pouring that ball through there in the late innings,” Paul said. “How did you like them strikes I throwed to Bucher? … He ain’t never saw anything I thrun.”[8]

The next batter also was a pinch hitter, as Johnny McCarthy came in to bat for Benge. McCarthy popped out to Frisch at second base, leaving Boyle between Paul and history.

“I was thinking it would be kinda nice to have the no-hitter, but if Boyle had been man enough to sock one, I’d have taken it without any crying,” Paul said.[9]

The Cardinals rookie never had to find out, as Boyle hit a sharp ground ball to Leo Durocher at shortstop, who blocked the ball with his chest[10] and recovered to throw Boyle out for the final out of the game.

With the game won, fans mobbed the field to congratulate the younger Dean. Delancey raced out to the mound to hand him the historic ball, but it briefly was stolen by a fan. One of the officers on duty, Jimmy Curran, grabbed the fan and the ball and returned the memento.[11]

“My curve was breaking good and as the game went along I felt looser and better,” Paul said. “I got faster as I went along and the funniest thing to me was that I wasn’t a bit tired when it was all over. I didn’t feel like I’d done no work at all. The fellows on the bench and the other players in the game acted like they’d been under a great strain and they kept sighing and heaving that they was glad it was all over, but I didn’t feel none of that. I felt like I could have pitched a couple more games.”[12]

Paul’s no-hitter was the first in the majors since Cleveland’s Wes Ferrell and Washington’s Bob Burke accomplished the feat, and the first Cardinals no-hitter since Jesse Haines did it 10 years earlier. Despite the accomplishment, Paul said his biggest thrill of the game was his offensive performance.

“I guess those two hits I got will knock Dizz off for a while,” he said. “Did I hit those or didn’t I? I never hit so good in my life. That single to right was good, but that double that I larruped out there to left-center was what I got a big kick out of. Yes sir. I guess Dizz won’t talk about his hitting for a while after those two wallops.”[13]

Of course, that didn’t mean that Dizzy Dean didn’t have anything to say. The two wins not only kept the Cardinals within three games of the New York Giants for the National League lead, but it meant that the Deans already had combined for 45 of the Cardinals’ 88 wins, matching a preseason prediction from Dizzy.

“Even Dizzy wasn’t dizzy enough to predict that the 45th would be a no-hitter,” Durocher said.[14]

In later years, legend would allege that Dizzy told his brother, “Shucks, Paul, you shoulda told me you was gonna pitch a no-hitter, then I woulda pitched one too!” While the quote appears in Milton Shapiro’s The Dizzy Dean Story, published almost 30 years later in 1963, none of the papers covering the game appear to have recorded the anecdote.

What was indisputable, however, was that the Cardinals would end up winning 13 of their final 15 games to catch the Giants and win the National League by two games. Facing the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, Dizzy and Paul would each win a pair of games, including Dizzy’s Game 7 shutout to win the third world championship in St. Louis Cardinals history.


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[1] Bill McCullough, “Dean Brothers Wrote Mound History With Double Win Over Dodgers,” Brooklyn Times-Union, September 22, 1934: Page 1A.

[2] Tommy Holmes, “Dean Brothers Bubbling Over With Fame,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 22, 1934: Page 6.

[3] J. Roy Stockton, “Paul Dean First St. Louis No-Hit Pitcher Since 1924,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 22, 1934: Page 1B.

[4] Bill McCullough, “Dean Brothers Wrote Mound History With Double Win Over Dodgers,” Brooklyn Times-Union, September 22, 1934: Page 1A.

[5] Tommy Holmes, “Dean Brothers Bubbling Over With Fame,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 22, 1934: Page 6.

[6] J. Roy Stockton, “Paul Dean First St. Louis No-Hit Pitcher Since 1924,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 22, 1934: Page 1B.

[7] Bill McCullough, “Dean Brothers Wrote Mound History With Double Win Over Dodgers,” Brooklyn Times-Union, September 22, 1934: Page 2A.

[8] J. Roy Stockton, “Paul Dean First St. Louis No-Hit Pitcher Since 1924,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 22, 1934: Page 1B.

[9] J. Roy Stockton, “Paul Dean First St. Louis No-Hit Pitcher Since 1924,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 22, 1934: Page 1B.

[10] Bill McCullough, “Dean Brothers Wrote Mound History With Double Win Over Dodgers,” Brooklyn Times-Union, September 22, 1934: Page 1A.

[11] Bill McCullough, “Dean Brothers Wrote Mound History With Double Win Over Dodgers,” Brooklyn Times-Union, September 22, 1934: Page 1A.

[12] J. Roy Stockton, “Paul Dean First St. Louis No-Hit Pitcher Since 1924,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 22, 1934: Page 1B.

[13] J. Roy Stockton, “Paul Dean First St. Louis No-Hit Pitcher Since 1924,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 22, 1934: Page 1B.

[14] Tommy Holmes, “Dean Brothers Bubbling Over With Fame,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 22, 1934: Page 6.

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