By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer
They don't write exits like this anymore.
Dizzy Dean and the Cubs lost to the Yankees, 6-3, in the second game of the 1938 World Series. But it was more than a loss--it might have been the last chapter of a great career.
Consider Henry McLemore's story which focused on Dean's shuffle down "baseball's last mile" after the Yankees knocked him out of the game.
"From the sunshine that bathed the pitching mound at Wrigley Field he walked into the shadows of the dugout and on through the green door that leads to the showers," McLemore wrote.
"Let it be said that Dizzy Dean walked it gloriously. Inside his heart he must have known that each step he took led him away, perhaps for the last time, from the spotlight he loves so well."
By 1938, Dean's arm basically was shot. He had been a great pitcher on some great St. Louis Cardinals teams, winning the National League's most valuable player award with 30 victories in 1934. But he was hurt in the 1937 All-Star game and never was the same. Still, he managed to go 7-1 in his first season with the Cubs.
Dean nursed a 3-2 lead until the eighth inning when Frank Crosetti hit a two-run home run to put New York ahead, 4-3. Joe DiMaggio hit another two-run shot in the ninth and Dean's day was done.
"He didn't walk the last mile alone. In spirit, the spectators ... walked it with him. For every step he took, the customers, appreciative of his courage, thundered a salute," McLemore wrote.
Funny thing was, Dean wasn't really done. He played in parts of three more seasons with the Cubs (including only one inning pitched in 1941). He even had a one-game comeback in 1947 while a broadcaster for the St. Louis Browns.