Diz and Buddy
Baseball fans of a certain age will remember Buddy Blattner, the baseball broadcaster who teamed with Dizzy Dean throughout the 1950s on "Baseball's Game of the Week," first on ABC-TV, then on CBS. The duo also broadcast Mutual's "Game of the Day" on radio.
Blattner died of cancer Sept. 4 at his home in a St. Louis suburb. He was 89.
Blattner lived an interesting life -- world table tennis champion in his teens, major league ballplayer in the 1940s, longtime broadcaster for several major league teams -- but when he was broadcasting nationally he was always in the outsized shadow of the irrepressible Dean. Blattner was the straight man who could be relied upon to at least give the score occasionally, while "Ol Diz," a Hall of Fame pitcher who had a meteoric career with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1930s, could be counted on to mangle the English language, come up with a country colloquialism -- "He slud into third base" -- or break into "The Wabash Cannonball" during on-the-field lulls. He left the show in 1959.
Back on the air in 1973, Dean told The Washington Post he was still the same Ol' Diz. "I am going to say 'ain't' and 'he slud into second base' like I always did, 'cause I believe like Will Rogers said, 'Some people who ain't saying ain't, ain't eating regularly.'
"I was born with a weak mind, a strong back and a strong arm. I only went as far as the third grade and then I quit, because if I had went to the fourth I would have passed my father. That's a joke."
Dean's redneck rusticity, however charming to his fans, got old after awhile as far as Blattner was concerned. After the 1959 season, Blattner begged to get out of his $75,000-a-year contract. "Diz can be charming," he told The Post, "but he likes to push people around. I made up my mind, he'd do it only once to me."
Dizzy Dean died in 1974 at age 64.
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