Became Beloved Baseball Broadcaster
Dean soon took his act to the Cardinals' broadcast booth, where the ungrammatical, chatty farm boy was an instant success. For Dean, slide became "slid, slide, slud." Fielders "threwed" the ball, and runners returned to their "respectable" bases. English teachers cringed, but fans roared. Dean later did network telecasts and turned the CBS-TV Game of the Week into a household favorite. In 1953, Dean was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Dean retired from broadcasting in the late 1960s and settled with his wife, Patricia Nash, in Bond, Mississippi. The couple, who had no children, had wed in 1931, during Dean's minor league years. Dean died on July 17, 1974. During his funeral in Bond, Mississippi, the Rev. Bill Taylor summed up Dean's life this way, according to Vince Staten's book, Ol' Diz: "He has left us, but he has not left us empty. Few men will be remembered as he will be, a man of kindness and good will. He was an institution it would have been a tragedy to institutionalize.… His speech didn't always follow the rules, but he was better understood that our best grammarian."