The famous quote about bragging was part of Dizzy Dean's prediction of
the number of games that he and his brother (Paul "Daffy" Dean) would
win in the 1934 season. The Dean brothers won 49 games, and the St.
Louis Cardinals won the World Series.
"Dizzy Dean and his brother Paul (Daffy) were the pitching backbone of
one of the most famous teams in history - the 1934 'Gas House gang'
St. Louis Cardinals. Before the season Dizzy said 'It ain't bragging
if you can back it up... Me and Paul'll win 45 games this year.' Dizzy
won 30 and Paul 19 on their way to a World's Championship."
Seth Swirsky Historic Baseballs
"Dean... actually went even farther than a pennant prediction. He
predicted he would win 20 to 25 games and that his brother Paul would
win 18 to 20. Dizzy was two out of three, the Cardinals did win the
pennant (and the World Series, over Detroit in seven games with Dizzy
throwing a shut out in Game 7) and Paul Dean won 19 games. Dizzy was
either conservative or modest, he won 30 games, rather than the 20-25
he predicted for himself. Despite the passing of more than seventy
years, Dean's 30-7 record remains the last thirty game winner in the
National League (the last in MLB belongs to Denny McLain in 1968).
Dean was something of an outspoken figure; his pennant prediction is
not out of line with the rest of quotable career. Dean is thought to
have been the man who coined the phrase 'It ain't bragging if you can
back it up' and also noted that 'anybody who's ever had the privilege
of seeing me play knows that I am the greatest pitcher in the world."
This Day in Baseball History
Similar quotes about bragging have been attributed to Muhammad Ali,
Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan, and other sports greats, but
Dizzy Dean apparently said it first.
Google search strategy:
Google Web Search: "dizzy dean" "bragging if you can"
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