What turned Dizzy into a baby name in 1935?

Baseball player Dizzy Dean (1910-1974)
Dizzy Dean

The unlikely name Dizzy was being used often enough in the 1930s to appear in the U.S. baby name data for three years straight:

  • 1937: 5 baby boys named Dizzy
  • 1936: 6 baby boys named Dizzy
  • 1935: 8 baby boys named Dizzy [debut]
  • 1934: unlisted
  • 1933: unlisted

So what’s the deal with Dizzy?

It came from professional baseball pitcher Dizzy Dean.

He’s best remembered for his very successful 1934 season with the St. Louis Cardinals. It was “one of the memorable performances by any pitcher in history,” capped off by a World Series win over the Detroit Tigers.

Along with the aging Babe Ruth, “Dizzy” Dean was considered baseball’s major drawing card during the Depression years of the 1930s.

His birth name wasn’t Dizzy, though. “Dizzy” was a nickname he’d acquired in the Army.

He was born in Arkansas with the name Jay Hanna Dean. His given names came from railroad magnate Jason “Jay” Gould (1836-1892) and Ohio politician Mark Hanna (1837-1904).

But Dean gave reporters a different birth name: Jerome Herman (which was the name of a childhood friend who had died young). He also gave reporters various incorrect birthplaces and birth dates, claiming later: “I was helpin’ the writers out. Them ain’t lies; them’s scoops.”

Sources: “Dizzy” Dean (1910–1974) – Encyclopedia of Arkansas, SSA

One thought on “What turned Dizzy into a baby name in 1935?

  1. When I think of Dizzy, I think of Dizzy Gillespie. He was a successful trumpet player and Jazz musician.

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