My fifth 1935 Goudey: Dazzy Vance

As I mentioned before, four of my cards came in a single visit to a local baseball card shop. The nicest card in terms of condition that I bought in that four-card batch featured Hall of Fame pitcher Dazzy Vance, so overall it was probably the best card out of the batch as well.

Vance is the only Hall of Famer on this card, but the other three players certainly had interesting careers, even though 1935 wasn’t necessarily a highlight year for any of them.

1935goudeyvance240pxIn 1935, Dazzy Vance was winding down his career. His career record of 197-140 isn’t typical Hall of Fame material, but his career was much shorter than his age at retirement suggests. An arm injury wiped out most of his twenties, and he only pitched 20 games in the majors prior to the age of 31. But during his thirties, he was about as dominant as they come, reliably winning 20-plus games and appearing among the league leaders in wins, ERA and strikeouts. He’s still the only pitcher to ever lead the National League in strikeouts for seven consecutive seasons. In 1935 he was 44 years old and didn’t have a lot left, appearing in 20 games as a relief pitcher. He’d been a productive starter up until the age of 41 though, and hung on a couple more years as a swingman, working out of the bullpen and making the occasional start. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1955.

Charlie Berry came up with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1925, but had the misfortune of being a catcher for a team that already had Mickey Cochrane and Jimmie Foxx ahead of him. He returned to the Athletics in the mid 1930s, after Cochrane was gone and Foxx had established himself as a first baseman, but in 1935 he was still a backup. He had starred in both baseball and football in college, and when his days as a major-league player were over, he went on to become a coach and umpire in major league baseball as well as a coach and official in the NFL. He is the only man to have officiated the World Series, the NFL Championship and the College All-Star game in one year.

Bobby Burke was a left-handed pitcher for the Washington Senators. He was a long reliever/spot starter, but in 1931, he threw the second (and what turned out to be the final) no-hitter in Senators history. There wouldn’t be another no-hitter thrown in the nation’s capital until Jordan Zimmerman did it for the Washington Nationals in 2014. No-hitters are relatively rare, but any major-league pitcher is capable of throwing one, and Burke is the perfect example.

Red Kress was the Senators’ utility infielder. As recently as 1933, he’d been a starter with the St. Louis Browns, and he has a 14-year career in the majors. A competent shortstop, he had the misfortune of being displaced by Hall of Famers twice (Luke Appling and Joe Cronin). A baseball lifer, he coached in the minor leagues through the 1940s until returning to the majors as a player-coach in 1946. He became a full-time coach in 1947 and coached in the until his death in 1962. He was one of Casey Stengel’s coaches for the 1962 Mets, so the luck that eluded him as a player eluded him as a coach to some degree as well.

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