Monday, September 5, 2011


Dean Chance came to the New York Mets when they purchased his contract from the Cleveland Indians on September 18, 1970. The veteran righthander was a former major league All-Star who threw a no-hitter for the Minnesota Twins on August 25, 1967. As a teenage phenom for West Salem Northwestern High in Ohio, he amassed 17 no-hitters in the late 1950s. "Well you hate to make a big deal of 'em'" said Chance.

Since Chance had pitched in the American League his only previous appearance at Shea Stadium came during the 1964 MLB All-Star Game there. Dean was the starting pitcher representing the California Angels club. In three innings of work he only yielded two singles. One of those hits was to the Mets' All-Star, Ron Hunt. The National League would later rally to win the contest and deny Chance the victory.

Dean joined New York to assist with their end of season pennant hopes. Chance worked from the bullpen and made his Mets debut on September 20, 1970. Tug McGraw had failed to hold the tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was lifted in the 10th inning. Dean recorded the final two outs of the 9-5 loss. Allowing two runs in the process. His two other appearances for the Mets that season came on the road. Giving him a combined 2 innings of work for a 0-1 record and 13.50 ERA in very limited duty.

The New York Mets traded Chance along with Bill Denehy to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Jerry Robertson on March 30, 1971. Dean pitched his final season in the big-leagues for the Tigers that season. After baseball he began a completely different career as a carnival barker. The former Cy Young Award winning pitcher traveled from one state fair to another running a game where the participant would throw three balls in an attempt to knock down two wooden clowns. "It's not too easy getting up for this kind of work," Chance admitted in an interview with author Edward Kiersch. "It was a lot different when I had to face Mantle or Maris. Then I was really psyched. Now what I'm really doing is selling toys. You have to set the game where you lose the item (a stuffed animal). Back when I was playing, everything was out front. It was me straight up against the batter....There's no better confrontation in sports."

Even while pitching professionally, Dean had an interest in boxing. He served as a manager and fight promoter during the winter months. In his retirement from baseball he reentered the world of fighting by establishing the International Boxing Association. Chance has served as the IBA President. "When I was growing up I always wanted to be a ballplayer," explained Dean. "But I always loved boxing, too. I grew up listening to and watching Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano. Boy, were they exciting."

I made Dean Chance's card in the set from an autographed index card I purchased from Bob Dowen on November 27, 2009.

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