Paul Dean (1913–1981)

aka: Paul Dee "Daffy" Dean

Like his brother, Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean, Paul Dee “Daffy” Dean was a baseball player who enjoyed his greatest success as a teammate with his brother on the St. Louis Cardinals. Due to injuries, Paul Dean had only two truly successful years in the major leagues, though he attempted numerous comebacks. However, the Dean brothers’ 1934 and 1935 seasons are well remembered by baseball historians.

Paul Dean was born on August 14, 1913, in Lucas (Logan County) to sharecroppers Albert Monroe Dean and Alma Nelson Dean. He became a professional baseball player in 1932 by signing with Houston of the Texas League. In 1934, he joined his brother on the pitching staff of the St. Louis Cardinals, prompting Dizzy’s famous preseason comment that he and his younger brother would win forty-five games that season. In the regular season, Paul Dean won nineteen (including a no-hitter), and Dizzy Dean won thirty as they led St. Louis to a World Series championship.

The next season, Dean won nineteen games and his brother won twenty-eight. He injured his arm in 1936 and never again was an effective pitcher, though he attempted comebacks until 1943. He pitched one final professional game, winning an early-season game for the Little Rock Travelers in 1946.

Dean believed his injury was from trying to pitch too much too soon after he had joined his brother in a contract holdout before the 1936 season. Dizzy believed a joint holdout would result in larger raises. Dean later believed he had not been in pitching shape because he sat out spring training.

Dean disliked the “Daffy” nickname reporters gave him in1934 because it had no basis other than his brother was “Dizzy,” though his brother, who was far more outgoing and an eager self-promoter, likely convinced him that a “Dizzy and Daffy” gimmick could sell tickets. The difference in the brothers’ outlooks also was demonstrated after the 1934 World Series. Dizzy celebrated by buying an airplane, while Paul bought a farm and married Dorothy Sandusky; they had four children.

The Deans’ performance in 1934 assured them a place in baseball history. In the race for the National League title, one of them pitched in thirty-seven of the season’s final fifty-two games. Each won two games in the World Series as St. Louis won the championship.

After his playing career, Dean was a minor league manager for seven years and the University of Plano (Texas) baseball coach for a time. In 1965, he retired to Springdale (Washington County), where he became a farmer and rancher and enjoyed a quiet private life. He died on March 17, 1981, from a heart attack and is buried in Oakland Cemetery in Clarksville (Johnson County).

For additional information:
Alexander, Charles C. Breaking the Slump: Baseball in the Depression Era. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.

Dixon, Phil S. The Dizzy and Daffy Dean Barnstorming Tour: Race, Media, and America’s National Pastime. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019.

Baseball: The Biographical Encyclopedia. New York: Total/Sports Illustrated, 2000.

“Paul Dean Dies at Age 66.” Arkansas Gazette. March 18, 1981, p. 1C.

Bob Razer
Bill Clinton State Government Project
Central Arkansas Library System


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