Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 30, 1936: Johnny Mize Hits His First Big Fly

     On April 30, 1936, Johnny Mize hit his first career home run during a 3-2 victory over the New York Giants at Sportsman's Park. Paul Dean also locked down his first victory of the year despite giving up 11 hits, which included 4 hits to Giants outfielder Jo Jo Moore who knocked in both of the Giants runs.

     Mize helped the Birds get on the board in the second inning after he followed up a Charlie Gelbert walk with a double. Leo Durocher then came up big with a two out double that brought both runners into score. Al Smith had gotten the start for the Giants and the southpaw gave them six inning before being pulled. He handed the ball over to Harry Gumbert who served Mize up his first career home run in the seventh. the long ball gave the Birds a 3-1 advantage that would prove to be crucial in the victory.  Moore tried to rally the Giants in the ninth by knocking in his second run of the day. The rally died with the tying run on the basepaths, as Dean  struck out Mark Koenig to end the ballgame.

     While Dean locked down his first victory of the year, the '36 season proved to be a tough one for Dizzy's brother. He posted a 5-5 record as he struggled with injury. Dean had won 19 games a season for two seasons in a row before that '36 season, and had showed all the promise of a great career. Unfortunately, the promise would go unfulfilled, as he won just 12 games over 7 years after winning 38 total in his first two years in the league. Even with that fact, Paul will forever be remembered as one of the greats who played ball with the Gashouse Gang.

     Mize hit 359 home runs in a career that spanned over 15 years. 158 of those came in a Cardinals uniform. 25 of them came against the Cardinals after he was traded in 1941. He teed off on the Brooklyn Dodgers more than any other team, as he hit 51 dingers against them, while the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago Cubs came in a close second and third.

Check out the box score here:

You can check out Mize's career home run log here:

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