Dean Chance, former Angels pitcher and Cy Young Award winner, dies at 74


Dean Chance, a two-time All-Star who won baseball’s Cy Young Award as a 23-year-old right-hander for the Angels in 1964, died Sunday at his home in Wooster, Ohio, the Angels confirmed. He was 74.

The cause of his death was not disclosed.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Chance, who was traded from the Washington Senators to the Angels in December of 1960, played only two seasons in the minor leagues before making his big-league debut with the Angels on Sept. 11, 1961.

With a distinctive windup in which he would turn his back fully away from the hitter before spinning and unleashing his pitch, Chance spent six years with the Angels, compiling a 74-66 record and 2.93 earned-run average.


He was dominant in 1964, going 20-9 with a 1.65 ERA, striking out 207 in 2781/3 innings, leading the American League with 11 shutouts and 15 complete games and winning baseball’s top pitching honor.

He was the youngest pitcher ever to win the Cy Young — at the time, there was only one winner in all of baseball, not one for each league, as there is today — a distinction he held until 20-year-old New York Mets right-hander Dwight Gooden won the National League Cy Young in 1985.

When he received the award, groups in his hometown vied to sponsor a testimonial dinner. Chance said he’d go along with it only if the proceeds went to his alma mater, Northwestern High School.

“They got the money from that to start their football program,” he told the Wooster News-Record last year. “I think we charged $6.25 a person, which was a lot of money back then.”

Chance and Bartolo Colon, who won the 2005 AL Cy Young, are the only Angels pitchers to win the award.

Born June 1, 1941, in Wooster, Ohio, Wilmer Dean Chance was a standout high school athlete, with only one loss in his 53 games. He had 17 no-hitters to his credit, eight of them in one season.


As an Angel, Chance was also known for his off-the-field exploits — he and fellow Angels pitcher Bo Belinsky were regulars at Hollywood night spots and socialized with entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Marilyn Monroe. That, along with a subpar 1966 season in which he went 12-17 with a 3.08 ERA, led to the Angels trading Chance to the Twins.

Chance went 20-14 with a 2.73 ERA and an AL-leading 18 complete games in 1967, his first of three seasons in Minnesota, and he closed his career by pitching for the Cleveland Indians, New York Mets and Detroit Tigers in 1970-71. He had a 128-115 career record and 2.92 ERA in 10 years.

In retirement, Chance acted as a midway barker and operated games of skill at carnivals and fairs during the 1970s and ‘80s.

He employed 250 people and ran about 40 games at the Ohio State Fair.

“In baseball lingo, that’s my World Series,” he told The Times in 1985. “I lose about 20 pounds in 17 days.”

He later founded the International Boxing Assn. and managed several fighters during the 1990s.

Chance returned to Anaheim in September to be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame along with outfielder Tim Salmon and pitcher Mike Witt.

Times staff writer Steve Chawkins contributed to this report.