Swap Shop: Five-Player Deal Sends Dean Chance to the Twins
In the first half of the 1960s, the best pitcher in the history of the Los Angeles/California Angels was a right-hander named Dean Chance.
Granted, it was a short history. By the end of the 1966 season, the Angels’ total history as a franchise was comprised of only six seasons. But beginning with his rookie season in 1962, the team’s best pitcher, year-in and year-out, was Chance.
As a rookie, Chance led the team with 14 victories as the Angels surprised everyone by finishing third in only their second year of existence. His 13 wins in 1963 tied him with Ken McBride for the most on the Angels’ staff.
Then came his magical Cy Young season of 1964. At 20-9, Chance led the American League in victories, complete games (15) and innings pitched (278.1). His 11 shutouts and 1.65 ERA led all major league pitchers.
He was 15-10 in 1965, and then his record slipped to 12-17 in 1966 despite a 3.08 ERA. The Angels team that finished the 1966 season had some holes to fill in its everyday lineup, and took a big step toward filling those holes on December 2. In a deal with the Minnesota Twins, the Angels acquired first baseman Don Mincher (.251 with 14 home runs and 62 RBIs in 1966), center fielder Jimmie Hall (.239 with 20 home runs and 47 RBIs in 1966) and pitcher Pete Cimino (2-5 with a 2.92 ERA in 1966). To get these three players, all the Angels had to do was part with the best pitcher they ever had (along with a player to be named later, infielder Jackie Hernandez).
The Angels’ quest for more runs remained after the trade. Hall batted .249 with 16 home runs and 55 RBIs. He would be traded to the Cleveland Indians midway through the 1968 season.
With Mincher, the Angels fared better. The first baseman hit 25 home runs with 76 RBIs in 1967. In 1968, Mincher slipped to 13 homers and 48 RBIs, At the end of the 1968 season, Mincher was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the 1969 free agent draft.
And Cimino was 3-3 for the Angels in 1967. He appeared in four games in 1968, and never pitched in the major leagues again.
For the Twins, the deal for Chance turned – literally – into a “win” fall.
Though Chance didn’t match his Cy Young season of 1964, he came pretty close in 1967. He went 20-14 with a 2.73 ERA. He led the American League with 39 starts, 18 complete games and 283.2 innings pitched. And he came within one game of pitching the Twins into the World Series.
Chance won 16 games for the Twins in 1968 (with a 2.53 ERA). In 1969, back pain limited Chance to 15 starts and a 5-4 record.
In three seasons with the Twins, Chance was 41-34 with a 2.67 ERA.