Originally DeWitt had planned to have Dean face Cleveland's Bob Feller in one game, then pitch the final game of the season against the White Sox. But he decided against a Dean-Feller duel and settled for a one-game appearance by Dean. After a week of pitching and batting practice Dean announced, "I'm ready. I'm in good shape and rarin' to go."
Three days before the season ended the Browns brought out a pitiful 315 fans. On September 27, for a doubleheader against the White Sox, only 1,031 showed up. Normally the best the Browns could have hoped for on closing day was 2,000. Going into their final game the Browns were 37 games behind the first-place Yankees and four games behind the seventh-place Senators. They had won 59 games while losing 94.
On that final Sunday, 15,916 turned out. "It was the third biggest home crowd we had all season," says DeWitt.
Many of the fans were followers of Dean and the old Cardinal Gashouse Gang and had religiously been ignoring the Browns for years. All of the wives of the Browns' pitchers were on hand, including Dean's wife, Pat.
When the game began, Muddy Ruel was not in the dugout. Miffed by DeWitt's signing of Dean without consulting him, Ruel had turned the team over to one of his coaches, Fred Hoffman.
Dean gave up a single to Don Kolloway, the first batter he faced. But the next batter hit into a double play and Dave Philley grounded out.
In the second inning Rudy York flied out, Thurman Tucker singled to left and Jack Wallasea walked. There were two on and only one out and the Browns' wives were all smiling. Dizzy pitched to Cass Michaels, and he hit the ball on the ground to Shortstop Vern Stephens, who started a quick double play.
Dizzy wasn't throwing anywhere near as hard as he had in his prime, but he was keeping the ball in or near the strike zone on virtually every pitch. He was forcing the White Sox hitters to swing, and in the third inning Mike Tresh, Ed Lopat ( Dean's pitching opponent) and Kolloway all flied out.
Dean went up to the plate in the last of the third carrying a black-and-white striped bat. Plate Umpire Cal Hubbard pointed out to him that it was illegal because of its coloring. So Dean returned to the dugout and came back with an even gaudier one. It was red and white and had been made especially for Dean as a gag by a bat-manufacturing company. It was as illegal as the-black-and-white bat, if not more so, but after wrestling briefly with his conscience Hubbard said, "Oh hell, go ahead and use it. I guess nobody cares." Dizzy promptly singled to left center, and the crowd roared. But on his way to first, he pulled a muscle.
Dizzy went to the mound, however, for the fourth inning, and after Bob Kennedy singled, Philley, York and Tucker all flied out.